Editorial WHAT SHOULD IKA PEOPLE EXPECT FROM THE NEWLY SWORN-IN CHAIRMEN AND COUNCILORS?

 Now that
the honourable chairmen and councilors in Ika Northeast and Ika South councils
have been sworn into office, should Ika people expect a very progressive and
exemplary leadership or are they to expect a self enriching government plagued
by inept leadership like we have always had? The long anticipated change of
democratically elected council chairmen and councilors will be of no relevance
if those who were freely given the four years mandate turn their backs on the
people.

                During the swearing-in ceremony
of these elected leaders, they all swore in the presence of God and the people
to be faithful and always work in the interest of the wellbeing of the Nigerian
nation. They swore not to endanger the continuation of the Federal Republic of
Nigeria. They swore that they will not allow personal interest to over ride
their official conduct and that they will do right to all manner of men according
to law. The newly elected representatives at the councils swore to devote
themselves to the well being and service of the people of Nigeria.
Conclusively, they all asked for God’s help.

To swear
or take solemnly an oath is binding on the swearer. They swore in the presence
of God and men. But will the exercise not amount to a mockery of the
constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria whereby Ika people are
shortchanged, neglected and deprived of democratic dividends?  Whereby the council chairmen and councilors
deliberately refuse to walk their talk, the essence of being a Nigerian citizen
under a democratically elected government that cares, is being threatened. Good
governments around the world exist to help their people meet their needs and aspirations
without which they cease to be 
government. The constitutional requirements of a local council includes;
construction and maintenance of motorable and pedestrian friendly roads,
excluding federal and state roads, environmental sanitation, administration of
maternity and health centres, preventive health services, rural water supply
and extension of urban water supply, construction and maintenance of primary
schools, town planning, agriculture and veterinary extension services, care of
markets and motor parks, maintenance of law and order, information and public
enlightenment, inspection of meat and abattoirs. Also included are the
provision of public libraries, control of beggars and prostitution, provision
of homes for destitutes, infirm and orphans and public housing programmes etc.
Given these list of requirements, every discerning Ika citizen knows very well
that Ika nation has faired badly at the local government level. Frustration and
elusive democratic dividends have been the reward to Ika people just as the
fundamental needs of life are left unprovided. 

                As against progress and
development, Ika nation is experiencing serious infrastructural deficits. The
more Ika people appeal to the two local governments for their legitimate
requirements, the more those at the helm of the local councils turn deaf ears.
All around Ika nation, blocked drainages are begging to be evacuated. The
present arm chair style of governance at local councils of today is in sharp
contrast to local administrations of yesteryears that employed labourers who
continually ensure that our environment was regularly kept clean. Now, local
government roads are neglected, markets are in shambles, electricity supply is
at the comatose level and nothing to write home about even as the much touted
STEP Down solution has remained a white elephant project. People throw refuse
into the gutters with impunity and who dares challenge them. To opposers
of  financial autonomy for local
councils, this third tier of government is the most important facilitator of
socio-economic development at the grassroots. Those who have been in the saddle
must have probably read it in books or watched on electronic devices about
experiences in other climes of successful local government. Yet, we seem to be in
a quandary as to which way to go. Hon. Barr. Francis Eborka as an experienced
lawyer and Mr. Fred Ofume as an accomplished management and financial expert
don’t seem to have a choice but to take us to the promised land. Will these
gentlemen and their councilors fulfill their campaign promises, or will they
become rubber stamps in the hands of some so called god-fathers like their
predecessors and particularly as the out gone ones were? Ika people are running
against time. Our society ought not to be where we are. Efeizomor Street named
after the revered monarch of Owa Kingdom needs urgent construction, Good Street
is impassable. The bad condition of Abraka road is taking its toll on vehicles,
Prof. Ebie Street, Egun Street and many other local government streets are
begging for urgent rehabilitation.

Ika
people cannot afford another wasteful four years without accountability. The
out gone transition committee has left office without accounting for three
years of misplaced performance which has left our society without
socio-economic improvement Even though the Peoples Democratic Party under its
Programme and Policy Trust for 2011-2015, says it will work to ensure that its
elected officials openly declare their assets, nothing near such has been done.
Must Ika people continue to look on, while local government resources are
misdirected and plundered by the people it is entrusted to who ought to be the
servants of the people now turned lords over night? Governments must be
accountable to the people. Ika people demand 
credible leadership.

Our
institutions of governance must be allowed to function properly for the
ultimate good of our people and to showcase to the world that we are a nation
of progressive people. Accountability must be their watch word.

Ika people
have had enough of bad leaders who pillaged our common wealth to acquire fleets
of cars, and prime houses abroad and at the end, deliver crumbs as dividends to
the people. Ika nation is in dire need of industrial establishments to engage
our teeming unemployed graduates.

                Procrastination is perilous, it
is the thief of time for the one who watches the wind will not sow seed and the
one who looks at the cloud will not reap. Elected leaders who have put their
hands on the plough, must forge ahead. They must fulfill their promises and not
look back. Allowing wasteful unproductive years of the previous administrations
to influence their performance will be inimical to the peoples interest. While
Ika weekly congratulates Hon. Fred Ofume and Hon. Barr. Francis Eborka and
their team of councilors, it is expected that they will show exemplary
leadership worthy of emulation. In this way, they will be writing their names
in gold rather than allowing themselves to go the way their predecessors went.  It is therefore in view of this that we
strongly believe that the out gone administration of Engr. Andrew Obiazi and
Princess Ijenwa Okunonke should be probed and made to account for the three
waisted years in office to serve as deterrent for the new administration. This
has become very necessary because for too long we have allowed elected or
appointed chairmen of our councils to hold sway, swindle Ika people and go scot
free with their loot. In the same vein, we strongly recommend that the new
chairmen and councilors should be made to declare their assets to enable Ika
people access them at the end of their tenure. In this way, we will no doubt be
setting a good precedence of checks and balance. 

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