Yesterday at the government house, the Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu sworn in all the 57 elected council chairmen and said the administrative and financial autonomy being enjoyed by Local Government Areas (LGAs) and Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) in the State for almost two decades is not granted for nothing but given to achieve a bottom-up growth model for the acceleration of coordinated development across the State.
The Governor said local councils, as the closest tier of Government to the people, must justify their autonomy by initiating people-oriented policies and programmes, which must focus on improving the lives and livelihood of citizens at the grassroots.
Sanwo-Olu gave the advice, on Tuesday, at the swearing-in of LGAs and LCDAs chairmen elected in the State’s council elections conducted last Saturday. The chairmen and their vice-chairmen took the oath at a ceremony held in the State House, Alausa.
The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) swept all the chairmanship seats across the 57 local councils.
The party’s overwhelming victory at the polls, Sanwo-Olu pointed out, yet again demonstrated Lagosians’ faith in APC, urging the council chairmen to uphold the people’s confidence and reciprocate the trust by prioritising the welfare of their citizens in decision making.
Since the inception of the fourth republic, he said Lagos had not created any vacuum in local government administration.
The Governor advised the chairmen not to take position as an opportunity to eliminate their political opponents, but use their energy to work for the people.
He said: “Today, we are witnessing the dawn of a new era in Local Government administration in Lagos State. A resounding statement has been made, once again, that Lagos is APC, and that the people of Lagos continue to regard our party as the most viable and most credible political choice for the most populous State and biggest subnational economy in the country. We consider this overwhelming support as a vote of confidence in our administration and our great party, and it will never be taken for granted.
“I congratulate the newly elected chairmen and vice-chairmen across all the LGAs and LCDAs. Your victory is an affirmation of trust in your competence, capacity and capability to discharge the responsibility of the Office you are stepping into. Being the closest tier of Government to the people, any gap or shortcoming in administration will be keenly felt by the people. As a result, your policies and programmes must be people-oriented, focusing on how to improve the lives and livelihood of the people at the grassroots.”
Sanwo-Olu reminded the council helmsmen that they came at a challenging time when the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic had disrupted jobs, livelihoods and businesses across the State, noting that residents expected nothing short of good governance and policies that would enable their administrative areas to navigate the difficult times and stand on a solid socio-economic footing.
This, he said, is part of their responsibilities and burdens as elected leaders, charging them to live up to their expectations. He reminded them that their tenure as council administrators was time-bound, urging them to build their legacies from the first day in the office.
“More than ever before, councils require cooperation among all levels and arms of Government. It is expected that you will work in unity with other tiers of Government to bring a dividend of democracy to the people in all the relevant areas, such as construction and maintenance of inner roads, waste management, primary education, healthcare, security, and so on,” Sanwo-Olu said.
The Governor extolled the leadership virtues of the National Leader of APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, expressing gratitude to the former Lagos Governor for his “unflinching dedication” to the party’s continued victory at all levels.