Ika South, no doubt, is one of the 25 local government areas in Delta State with its administrative headquarters at Agbor. The local government is indeed, blessed with abundant human and material resources needed to transform the socio-economic status of residents in the area. The potentials in the area would have been enough to provide a synergy that would stimulate the economic prosperity of the people if they (the potentials) were effectively harnessed.
The restoration of democratic governance in Nigeria in May, 1999, actually raised the people’s expectation vis-à-vis the dividends of democracy. 12 years after the enthronement of civil rule in the country, the people are yet to evolve a leadership structure at the council level that would have provided the necessary template needed to fast track sustainable socio-economic and infrastructural development of the area.
It is a statement of fact that things are not really working well in the political terrain in Ika South as a result of a number of factors such as lack of political unity among the people, egocentric tendencies and misplacement of priorities among others. These factors have over the years, inhibited the actualization of the people’s developmental needs and aspirations.
We have seen them (council chairmen and councillors) come and gone but the council itself remains. With its level of independence, one cannot still comprehend why the leadership of successive administrations in the council has perpetually refused to put smile on the faces of the people. It beats the imaginations of any right thinking and patriotic man or woman from the local government that things are not working.
In these days of advance thinking, it is disheartening to note that people still tie our development to the state government, meaning that if the state refuses to develop, this will automatically translate to our poverty level and non-developmental initiatives at the council. In order words, when there is no money at the state, there will never be money at the council level thereby making salaries and wages to become an issue for negotiation.
Researches and good thinking have shown that the local government is blessed with men and women who can conveniently pilot the affairs of the local government to a glorious height base on the principles of good governance. Our association with this hypothesis is not anchored on a mediocre leadership as it is quite apparent that some self centred politicians have brought us to this political quagmire that we are in today.
It was a desperate move by certain political class who are perpetually greedy and morally bankrupt that things are not actually working well in Ika South politics. Do they really understand what leadership is all about? Leadership tussle is another part of our problems. Who is actually our leader? Does he fall within this definition below?
A leader is someone who mobilizes others towards achieving set goal(s) that would significantly better the lot of the people. The societal goal(s) is under normal circumstance, the vision shared by other leaders within the fold and followers (Leaders, followers and goals) .These three are equally necessary or basic supports for leadership
Have we actually misplaced our priorities? Yes, because, we do not seem to be in the good book of the state government going by the recent appointment of civil commissioners in the state. Obviously, the government does not seem recognise us as a local government worthy enough to merit a position among the first 11 (the first set) of the commissioners that the governor appointed. The reason for this is that we have actually misplaced our priority by pursuing personal interest instead of the interest of larger society.
I do not for any reason hold brief for the governor on this matter for any of these points has little or no direct impact as it is his prerogative for such appointment. Commissioner is a manager without authority to allocate votes neither has he God willing mercies to decide where projects will be sited without the governor’s consent especially in our state Delta. It takes more than that name commissioner to win the heart of the governor to be on your side for any meaningful project that would impact positively on the lives of the people to be sited in your local government area.
Other indices in comparing the ministries could be when one is assigned to a portfolio that over sees services and capital development, then the tendencies of his people benefiting becomes very high. Most of the supplies or contract awards fall within the purview of the Commissioners, Permanent Secretaries or the Directors in their respective ministries as in their approval limit and at the end of the day, you see them giving out these jobs to their cronies.
I think our frustration is just that our representatives are not performing enough; they prefer to remain in the class of sycophants to the detriment of our collective aspiration for the growth and development of our society either as a result of ignorance, lack of interest or they do not know what to do.
We have left those to vent our angers on and they are the elected representatives whom, we had given our mandate to negotiate or represent us either at the local government, state or at the federal levels. The most appropriate thing to do is invoke the spirit of accountability. Let the people given political mandate to represent our collective interest at the various levels of governance be made to account for their stewardship. The big question is: who will bell the cat?
***Mr. Marcus Nwose is the executive director ACCM FABRICATIONS LIMITED, Based in Lagos. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org