Barely seven days to the end of their tenure, the Ogun State House of Assembly, on Thursday lifted the suspension it placed on Chairmen of the 20 Local Governments (LGs) and the 37 Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) in the state.
The council bosses has till October 10, 2019 when their administrations would constitutionally expire, having been sworn in for a three-year tenure on October 10, 2016.
The Assembly also accused the immediate-past Governor of the State, Ibikunle Amosun, of “short-changing” local governments in the distribution of federal allocations during his administration.
The chairmen were suspended by the eighth legislature led by former Speaker Suraju Adekunbi at the twilight of its expiration shortly after Amosun left office on May 29, few days after Gov Dapo Abiodun placed an embargo on the LGs and LCDAs accounts.
The Assembly’s directive to lift the ban was consequent upon the passage of a resolution titled “HR No./043/ OG/2019 — Report of the House Committee on Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs in respect of the suspended political office holders in all the Local Government Councils and Local Council Development Areas across the State.”
The passage of the resolution came shortly after the committee chairman, Akeem Balogun, presented his report and moved the motion for its adoption.
It was seconded by Bolanle Ajayi and supported by the whole House through a voice vote.
The report presented by Balogun partly reads, “Following the receipt of various petitions on allegations of financial misappropriation and non performance leveled against the chairmen of the 57 Local Government Councils and Local Council Development Areas in the State, the 8th Legislature via House Resolution 018/2019 on Friday, 31st May, 2019 suspended all political office holders in all the Local Government Councils and LCDAs in the State.”
Balogun said after the Assembly’s various investigations, the House noted: “All the Local Government and LCDAs were shortchanged in terms of allocation from the Federation Account by the immediate past administration in the state.
“It was detected that each of the local government councils and LCDAs only obtained the sum of twelve million Naira (N12m) each, paid in six months installments for the entire period of thirty (30) months under review.
“Majority of the chairmen were found guilty of complacency and docility in the face of constitutional breach of their functions and finances by the immediate past administration of the state.
“Majority of the chairmen were found guilty of not keeping proper records of activities of their councils and nonchalant attitude and violation of procedural rules and financial guidelines by council officials.”
Consequently, the Assembly recommended that those chairmen found culpable be referred to the appropriate agencies of government for further investigation, with a directive to them to put their respective councils in order to ensure transparency and accountability in the administration of the third tier of government.
The Assembly, in its report of the House Committee on Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, said it had found that Amosun’s government paid only N12m to the local governments and Local Council Development Areas in six-month installments for the 30 months under review.