The impediment to the development of Ika South local government area of Delta State lies directly in us and until this impediment is drastically subdued, all other attempts aimed at fast tracking our sustainable socio-economic and infrastructural development as a local government council will be a mirage.
Asking questions should not be seen as rebellion. So, it is proper to ask questions when there is confusion to avoid not only peddling rumours but to, also, add credibility to governance through the instrumentality of accountability.
The closest government to the people as far as the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is concerned, is the local government and surprisingly, people at the grassroots are not too keen to know or ask fundamental questions bordering on local government administration in their respective local government areas.
One of the issues that call for great concern in Ika South local government council is the salary wage bill of both the political class and the council workers themselves. The salary strength of the council as it stands today is put at about N60 million monthly excluding the 18,000 minimum wage. If you separate that of the civil servants from this amount, you will discover that politicians are taken about N17 million monthly.
The council is said to have a total staff strength of about 518. Unfortunately, this figure was not broken down for easy analysis and proper accountability. It, therefore, behoves on us all to ask questions on the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) which is estimated to be about N10 million only for a whole year.
With this statistics, where lies our development? We can hardly achieve some of the basic indices of development in Ika South if our status-quo remains business as usual. The difference between what we have on ground now and that of our hopeful development is the value addition. This phenomenon (value addition) is indeed, sacre and a very scarce knowledge in our political culture.
A responsible government can save a minimum of N20 million from this colossal amount of waste in our local government every month. This is practicable and realizable. It is just a simple application of elementary human resources skill to sort out. I think those who were previously elected to run our local government over the years, know about this simple fact as their actions, as far as I am concern, are deliberate.
As far as we know, all government structures in Nigeria have the competence to measure with any international best practices in governance. But the problem in our local government system is fragrant abuse of democratic principles as transparency and accountability which are the hallmarks of democracy are in most cases, thrown to the wind by some desperate politicians.
Obviously, this loophole in our council cannot stand the test of time. In fact, it is ridiculous to say the least, that 10 out of every 12 council staff have no knowledge of the actual amount of deductions from their monthly salaries. Here, I mean the minuses both taxes and other accruable. As a matter of fact, they do not have pay slips to show for their earnings.
Could it be that it is a matter of being naïve that those in the pay-roll of the council fear that demanding for their pay slips will put their job in jeopardy? Time will come when people will begin to ask whether the expenditures justify the services rendered, and then it will be left for the people to decide. I think we should examine what we pay to see if it is commensurate to the output. I know in my heart that what is good is good and that what is right will always eventually triumph. How long can we continue to tolerate mediocrity in governance?
There are other issues that require attention and one of them is the issue of too little job for too many people in our contemporary local government system. The way out of this is just values addition which, like as I stated earlier, is a very scarce commodity. There will be no meaningful development until this issue is realized. I hate to hear downsizing of workforce which automatically translate to visionless or an executive incompetence especially in the mist of untapped resources.
In the process of data collection, it was discovered that a minimum of three persons do the job meant for one person. If I may ask again: is this the best that we can do? Some solutions are urgently needed to avoid wasting our hard earned allocations and IGR. What is happening to all our markets in the local government, such as the CTC Market, Baleke Market, Oyoko market, Ekuku-Agbor Market and those in other villages?
Uhuru will be too far from us if we solely depend on our market stores across the local government alone for (Internal Generated Revenue) IGR. With proper vision, mission and management of our resources are bound, the local government can serve as a commercial point for people from the east as well as those from the west. All it will take is vision and commitment. What we see today is value deficiency society which has created the suffering of our people and subsequently led to immaturity of leadership.
When all the indices are put together, the bye product is an impulse to accumulate wealth quickly and primitively at the expense of the people. What distinguishes the leadership of present and what we hope to see is the value addition. Some of our markets are already taken over by bushes. What happened to village community centres initiatives, where villagers could have good time for themselves after the daily labour?
The local government can do better than the present status-quo. The government field at Agbor is today becoming an eyesore and we deserve better than what people are putting down in the area all in the name of stores. Those things do not befit the township of our dreams.