The Bayelsa State Government says it is currently one of the few states in the country where other arms of government function independently including the local government system.
The State Deputy Governor, Chief Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, stated this when the National President of the Nigerian Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), Akeem Olatunji-Ambali, paid him a courtesy visit in Government House, Yenagoa.
Ewhrudjakpo said the clamour for financial autonomy for the local councils was in line with the principles of rule of law and separation of powers.
He said the state government had since given its approval of financial autonomy to the councils, and therefore, was not in any way tampering with their funds.
The deputy governor said that the government had recently resolved to increase its financial support to the councils with additional N252 million on a monthly basis.
He said that the move was necessitated by inadequate revenue allocations from the Federal Government and the implementation of promotion arrears of council workers by the state government.
Ewhrudjakpo noted that government had adopted the policy of Joint Tax System, describing it as a unified approach of generating revenue into the coffers of both state and local government councils in the state.
“We have not only exercised autonomy for our local government system here but also addressed several issues people are protesting for elsewhere.
“In Bayelsa, we have autonomy for the Judiciary arm since 2013 and the House of Assembly in 2019.
“Bayelsa is one state where we don’t tamper with local government funds. As the funds come, the chairmen meet with the state at the Joint Allocation Committee and what we do is to approve the JAC figures and they go back to dispense.
“Only recently, in addition to what we are giving to the local government for the payment of primary school teachers, we have just decided to give another N252 million as support to councils,” he said.
On the minimum wage for council workers, Ewhrudjakpo said the state government in consultation with council chairmen and state NULGE leadership, had set up a committee to look into its implementation.
The deputy governor, however, urged NULGE to take the issue of reforms in the local government system seriously with a view to addressing the excesses of some council chairmen and for the overall benefit of rural dwellers.
On the appeal for the completion of NULGE state headquarters, Ewhrudjakpo promised that the government would look into their request for appropriate action.
Earlier, the National President of NULGE, Olatunji-Ambali, said that his team was in the state in continuation of the union’s nationwide advocacy campaign for local government autonomy.
Olatunji-Ambali described local government as the most strategic, relevant and direct system of government that must be accorded its pride of place in the country to positively impact on the masses.
He also identified insecurity in the country as a challenge that could be addressed significantly, if the local government system that interfaced directly with the traditional rulers and rural people was strengthened.
While appreciating the state government for its support to the local government system, the NULGE helmsman appealed for the completion of the union’s secretariat in the state.
Jubilation As GDI Takes PVC Collection Sensitisation Rally To Oyigbo
It was an ecstatic scene in Afam, headquarters of Oyigbo Local Government Area, last Sunday, as the Grassroots Development Initiative, GDI, took its PVC Collection Sensitisation rally to the area.
The tumultuous crowd that attended the event from the ten electoral wards of Oyigbo was a bold statement that Oyigbo people have embraced the message which GDI had come to deliver: ‘Operation Go and Collect your PVC’ .
Speaker after speaker at the occasion underscored the importance of the PVC to the electoral process .
Chairman, Inter Party Advisory Council, IPAC, in Rivers State, Ambassador Desmond Akawor, highlighted the need for eligible voters to consider it as their duty to collect all unclaimed PVCs still at the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, offices across the state.
Ambassador Akawor who is also the State Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, thanked the people of Oyigbo for the massive turnout, noting that it was an indication that they were well aware of their civic responsibilities.
Ambassador Akawor who thanked GDI for initiating the sensitisation program, described it as timely, instructive and worth the while.
Gubernatorial candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in Rivers State, Amaopusenibo Siminialayi Fubara, who spoke in Ndoki language, said he was happy to be home, explaining that the people of Oyigbo, Opobo and Bonny are one and the same people.
Amaopusenibo Fubara expressed delight at the level of mobilisation of the people but advised them to ensure they collected their PVCs and be ready to make good use of it at the appropriate time.
The well attended rally featured procession by the ten wards of the LGA who defied the rain to showcase their level of enthusiasm and sensitisation.
Present at the event were the Deputy Governorship candidate, Prof. (Mrs) Ngozi Ordu; Chairmen of local government councils; members of National and State assemblies; PDP and GDI members and stakeholders, including the President-General of GDI, High Chief Bright Amaewhule; Deputy Chairman of PDP in the state, Hon Chukwuemeka Aaron and the State Secretary, Dr Benibo George.
There were also solidarity speeches from stakeholders of Oyigbo LGA.
Politicians Paid N5m To Destroy Me, PDP Nat Sec Cries Out
Crisis is brewing in the Imo state chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, following the alarm raised by the National Secretary of the PDP, Senator Samuel Anyanwu, on Monday alleging that the sum of five hundred thousand naira has been paid each to 10 persons to churn out damaging information about him (Senator Anyanwu) ahead of 2023 elections in the state.
The Senator disclosed this to newsmen in Owerri, through his Special Adviser on Media, Ikenna Onuoha.
Anyanwu who accused some of his party members in the state of being behind the plot of destroying him also said they were the same party members who were not happy with his emergence as the National Secretary of the PDP.
According to him, “We have uncovered a plot by desperate politicians to blackmail and impugn the National Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Samuel Nnaemeka Anyanwu. Information at our disposal showed that these desperate politicians otherwise known as “Internally Displaced Politicians – IDPs” are recruiting online media hatchet writers to assist in running down the image of the PDP National Scribe.
“Available information also has it that these politicians have stationed ten (10) known “cash and carry” online media writers and paid N500, 000 (Five Hundred Thousand Naira) to each of the recruited writers.
“We also gathered that they have selected eight (8) newspapers in the state and promised to pay N100, 000 (One Hundred Thousand Naira) on monthly basis to each of the newspapers all in a bid to assist in discrediting Senator Anyanwu. No doubt, these Internally Displaced Politicians are furious over their dwindling and diminishing political relevance since the majority of our members have come to know their true colour.
“We are aware that these politicians resorting to self-help are angry that an Imo son, Senator Anyanwu emerged the National Secretary of the main opposition party in Nigeria against their failed plot to foist two Anambra sons on our party as National Secretary.
“We also uncovered that these politicians championing the fake news against Senator Anyanwu are afraid that the ongoing rebranding in our party, the PDP might affect their selfish political hegemony against their desperate bid to grab power. We have noted their fears since the leadership of the Divine Mandate Movement (DMM) was rejigged and we can only tell them sorry for their failed ambition.
“It is worthy of note that since his inauguration as PDP National Scribe, these mischief makers have continued in their avowed plot to distract Senator Anyanwu using unsubstantial stories with the colouration of falsehood aimed at blackmailing him.”
“Recently, in their desperate bid to blackmail our National Secretary, these mischief makers conjured another fake news that Senator Anyanwu gave a stern warning to IPOB and cautioned Igbo Youths against Biafra agitations. This was immediately refuted thereby destabilizing their target.
“Similarly, just recently, as usual, the confused politicians also criminally forged the signature of Senator Anyanwu’s Media Aide alleging that he ordered members of IPOB to account for Killings in Imo State while using the massacre of 14 Otulu Youths in Awo Omamma as a pointer. Recall, they had used a known online media merchant to accuse our National Secretary of hijacking the just concluded PDP 3-man ad-hoc delegates and primaries respectively, unknown to them that our party members are aware of those that wanted to deny the party candidates in the primaries,” he said.
LG Boss Set To Commence Community Hall Project For Udekama Kingdom
In continuation of the fulfillment of his social contract with people of Degema Local Government Area of Rivers State, the Chairman of the council, Hon. Michael John Williams, has concluded plans to commence the construction of a befitting Town Hall for the people of Udekama Kingdom in Ward 12 of the local government.
Speaking during a consultative meeting with stakeholders of the community, comprising chiefs, Community Development Committee (CDC), youth and women representatives, at the Council Secretariat in Degema, Monday, the Chairman apprised that the meeting was convened in order to seek the consent and approval of the community, before its commencement, inline with his administration’s policy of consulting and involving community members in development projects and programmes of government.
He commended the community for their patience and steadfastness with his administration while projects were being sited in other communities, maintaining that his administration was committed to fulfilling its campaign promise of executing projects in all communities of the LGA.
He however took a swipe at some misguided persons who rush to the social media to lampoon and abuse government for allegedly not embarking on projects in all communities of the LGA simultaneously, describing it as unrealistic, as no administration could achieve that, considering the paucity of funds.
The Council Chairman stated that his love for the Communities and people of the LGA motivates him to do what he is doing for them, adding that governments were expected to work for the betterment of society.
“People often say, even to my hearing, that this chairman will leave office broke with a waterproof bag. But I tell them in all honesty that I am comfortable with my monthly take-home.
“We are not here to enrich ourselves, but to make Degema LGA better than we met it and that is partly why we are investing heavily in infrastructures in our various Communities,” he stated.
The Council Boss, who informed the community of his plan for the community, however, asked them to nominate projects of their choice for consideration, if they preferred something else.
After the community representatives gave a nod for the construction of the Town Hall, the Council Chairman unveiled the prototype and asked them to provide a piece of land that is not a subject of litigation for the commencement of the project.
Responding, the Onu-Onyan Ekein of Udekama Kingdom, King (Dr.) Reuben Zachariah Amos, Peika 7, thanked the Council Chairman for his kind gesture to the people of the area.
Represented by Chief Oho-Oswo Francis, the traditional ruler commended the Chairman for changing the past narrative of the LGA, noting that he has done better than all past Chairmen of the Council.
While particularly thanking the Chairman for appointing their sons and daughters into his administration, the traditional ruler promised that his people would continue to be of good conduct to engender peace in the LGA.
“We want to thank the Chairman for honouring his promise to us such as siting this project in our community, appointing our sons and daughters into his cabinet, amongst others, which has never happened in the previous regimes. ”So our chairman has started on a very good footing by siting this Town Hall in our community and we accept it in good faith and we say a big thanks to our chairman.
“We wish to promise our Chairman that we shall continue to be of good behavior, we will continue to conduct ourselves creditably and there will be no breach of the peace,” he assured.
The community representatives later led the Council Chairman into the community, where a piece of land was shown to him to site the Town Hall project.
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