By Okiemute Okpomor
ASABA – Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State has assured Deltans that the State Government will not set up caretaker committees for the Local Government councils.
The governor gave this assurance during the valedictory Joint Account Allocation Committee(JAAC) meeting held in Asaba, he said that JAAC meetings were transparent, accountable and open as representatives of the various unions in the councils act as observers to the proceedings.
He explained that caretaker committee for local government councils was unconstitutional and as a former Senator he can not breach the Constitution, stressing that the interregnum before the next election would be very brief.
According to senator Okowa, “I don’t believe in caretaker committees to man the council before the 2018 elections, it is unconstitutional, I have been in the Senate to know that it is not in the Constitution, the interregnum will be brief and elections will be held.”
On the Joint Account Allocation Committee meetings, he said, “at JAAC, we have tried to be as transparent, accountable and open as possible, I made sure that representatives of Nigeria Union Of Teachers (NUT), Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees(NULGE)and State Universal Basic Education Board(SUBEB)are observers at JAAC meetings to make it more transparent and let them see how the money accruing to the councils are allocated, I hope that the next JAAC will continue with this solid foundation built by you.”
Reassuring the chairmen of his continuous support and cooperation, Dr. Okowa commended them for their patience and sacrifices in piloting the affairs of the councils stating that, “I feel encouraged and touched because I know that you went through a lot of sacrifices and pains for our people, I appreciate you for your tolerance, patience, cooperation and sacrifices. It is not easy to sacrifice your comfort and endure all the criticism, you have laid the foundation in your various councils and JAAC, I hope the next set of chairmen will build on this foundation.”
The Governor spoke further,, “the fact that we are being more accountable at the local government councils now is great, our wage bills are reducing with the biometric system and hopefully with time we will have a manageable number of staff and pay salaries as at when due.”
Senator Okowa then urged all council workers and teachers to embrace the clock in- clock out biometric scheme and partner with government to identify ghost and absconded workers so as to make a success story of the council and primary school system.
In their various speeches, the state Association of Local Government Chairmen of Nigeria [ALGON], Mr. Malik Ikpokpo and other chairmen commended Governor Okowa for his support, transparency and leadership quality stating that the valedictory session was meant to “honour you and thank you for being a good leader, teacher and governor, we have learnt a lot from you to improve ourselves politically and otherwise”