By Hilary Amodu
Arbitrary seizure of local government funds by Gov Wada. In contrast to the clamour for LG autonomy and the constitutional recognition of LGs as the third tier of govt. What is obtainable in kogi state is a total aberration from what ought to be.
The state govt in Oct 2014 announced the seizure of statutory allocation of the 21 LGs reasons being that the elected councils could not pay full salaries to staff. They went further to freeze all local government account. What is obtainable now is that all local government fund is being administered by the ministry of local government and chieftaincy affairs under the supervision of the commissioner.
With the dissolution of elected councils sequel to a judgement, directors of LGs who administers the various LGs are completely handicapped, they just attend joint account allocation committee meetings only to rubber-stamp the illegality by the state government.
Contrary to expectations, the state government has not paid full salaries to LG staff since they took over the management of LG account. Rather, they pay whatever percentage they like and the remaining fund is diverted. Teachers are not paid as at when due and even if they are paid, their salaries are arbitrarily deducted.
The questions now are:
1) Why can’t the state govt pay full salaries to LG staff after relieving the council chairmen of that responsibility on the account of their (LG Chairmen) inability to pay full salaries?
2)What happens to the deduction for teachers salaries at JAAC that teachers are not paid regularly ?
3) In whose interest is the LG fund being runned by the state?
4) Why can’t the state govt improve on the percentage salaries being paid to LG staff despite the fact that elected chairmen, councillors and their retinue of aides are no longer on the payroll of various LGs?
5) What happens to the excess of funds at the Joint Accounts Allocation Committee (JAAC) under the supervision of the commissioner for LG &CA?
These are pertinent questions begging for answers. Enough of hypocrisy, personalized governance and undue family interference in our state. The cabal should know that very soon they will be dumped into the dustbin of history until doomsday.
Lest I forget, i’m aware that they are plans to deduct funds from the local government joint account for the forthcoming general elections and if this is done your guess is as good as mine.
I weep for my sweet state – KOGI!