The Onpetu of Ijeru, a town in Ogbomoso, Oyo State, has asked that a role be carved out for traditional rulers in local government administration.
The monarch, Oba Sunday Oyediran, stated that a local government system that had traditional rulers playing some vital roles would revive the main essence of the third tier of government which is primarily to cater for people at the grassroots.
Oba Oyediran took this position at the weekend during a lecture delivered by Dr. Festus Adedayo, former Special Adviser on Media to the Governor of Oyo State. The lecture was titled Wedlock as hemlock: States, local government accounts and the future of the local government.
The event which held at Ogbomoso South Local Government, also saw the launching of two books entitled Issues in Ogbomoso history and Reasoning with you, both written by Mr. Adewuyi Adegbite, a historian and public affairs analyst.
The guest lecturer had submitted that the First Republic experience which had traditional rulers getting involved in the administration of their regions could not be replicated in the current dispensation. He said such a system would not produce any positive results because traditional rulers were part of the problems of the local government.
But Oba Oyediran disagreed, citing his personal developmental efforts in the area of healthcare and several others in his Ijeru area, as an example of what traditional rulers could do if integrated into their local government administration.
He pointed out that not all traditional rulers were desirous of personal gains they can get from government.
In his lecture, Dr Adedayo said that in a democracy, local government administration was more important to the people than the other two tiers of government because it has the advantage of making swift and great impacts on the lives of the people, while serving “as a potent system to mobilize people for local participation in governance.”
He lampooned both the 1976 local government reforms and the 1999 constitution for their failure to give council administration “the needed bite” as some sections of the constitution actually handed over local governance to the whims and caprices of state governments.
Dr. Adedayo strongly criticized Section 7(1) and Section 160, sub-sections (2) to (8)) of the constitution for giving that states Houses of Assembly power to legislate on council administration, as well as creating the State Joint Local Government Account (SJLGA) “which have become infamous as cesspits of fraud”
His words: “What this means is that the amounts allocated to the local government will only get to them indirectly through the instrumentality of their state governments. Through all manner of shenanigans, state governments now funnel out huge resources meant for the development of the grassroots, hiding under the SJLGAs which have become infamous as cesspits of fraud.
“The result is that there is irrefutable squalor at the grassroots and regimes of bad imitation of locality administration. Consequently, governance in councils is at a standstill, uneventful and is today a converse of its projected role of interfacing between the people and local governance,” he said.
Also present at the occasion were the former Chairman Medical Advisory Council of LAUTECH Teaching Hospital, Dr O. A. Olakulehin; the Aale of Okeelerin, Oba Samuel Amao, Prof Ademola Adegbite; former Chairman of Ogbomoso North Local Government, Chief Bayo Oyewusi; former Chairman of the same council, Hon Temi Adibi and other notable personalities in the state.