Nasarawa State governor, Engineer Abdullahi Sule, has reiterated the determination of his administration to grant full autonomy to the local government councils in the state, stressing that elected local government chairmen are free to manage the resources of the councils without due interference.
Engineer Sule made this known when he hosted the maiden meeting with newly elected local government chairmen, as well as permanent secretaries, executive secretary of Primary Healthcare Development Agency and Auditor-General for Local Government, at the Government House, on Friday.
This is just as the governor charged the new council chairmen on transparency and efficiency in running the affairs of the councils.
According to the governor, his administration is of the strong view that local government councils are autonomous, and that elected council chairmen should continue to manage the resources accruing to their individual councils.
Engineer Sule however said even though his administration may not be interested in knowing how much each council is generating, the state government will necessarily keep an eye on the activities of the councils with a view to knowing how funds are utilized for the benefit of the people.
He drew the attention of the chairmen to the backlog of liabilities and indebtedness, which the governor urged them to settle, especially as it pertains to payment of salaries and other obligations.
The governor said the meeting with the council chairmen became necessary for them to be briefed on changes and reforms to be embarked upon in the administration of the local government councils.
He explained that he couldn’t introduce the reforms when he came into office because then the council chairmen have spent one year in office.
“For you that is starting with us, it’s significant to us that whatever changes we try to make, whatever reforms we are going to make, it’s better we start it now,” he stated.
He sought the cooperation of the council chairmen on the need to carry along development area overseers, who may be appointed in a week’s time.
The governor particularly advised the council chairmen to replicate the monthly JAC meeting at the council level, where the overseers will be brought to speed on activities at the local government areas.
Engineer Sule equally spoke to the need to streamline payments at the council level to reflect size and challenges, instead of uniform payment across board.
“I think it’s important we sit down and look at each LGC with its own peculiarities. If one LGC is facing more challenges, I have no problem releasing more resources for such LGC to resolve the problem for the people,” the governor said.
He reiterated the determination of his administration to always support the councils whenever they encounter challenges that they, on their own, could not resolve, adding that is why his administration will monitor activities at the councils.