In these days of lean resources where most states cannot embark on their responsibilities towards their citizens, some local government chairmen in Osun state are planning a jamboree trip to Dubai. LATEEF DADA writes.
The proposed foreign trip of the local government chairmen in Osun state has continued to generate reactions as the state government was also forced to intervene and ordered immediate cancellation of the proposed trip.
The chairmen have proposed a 10-day workshop in Dubai for 68 chairmen including the local council development areas with over N100 million to be spent for the trip. This particular action of the chairmen has been described as a vindication of those that kicked against the autonomy of local government administrations in the country.
Reaction trails planned trip
Reacting to the issue, a public crusader, Ismail Durojaye Oladosu said, “I refuse to believe that local government chairmen in Osun state are being prepared for a 10-day training jamboree to the United Emirates of Dubai. This move, if it is true, will not only amount to insensitivity, irresponsibility, financial recklessness, wickedness but also inhuman.
“What should be the priority of every responsible government now, either at local, state or federal level, is how to nip in the bud the rampaging security challenges that are consuming the lives of innocent Nigerians like a predator. Any governor, who supports, approves or finances such a jamboree, is only telling the people that he does not know what to do with their mandate he is holding in trust and should be condemned in strong terms.
“Many of these chairmen do not even understand the needs of their people. If they do, they will never contemplate abandoning their people for a fruitless-bound journey to Dubai in the name of a worthless training when people are being kidnapped and killed daily like chickens in the country.
“Today, Osun ranks one of the poorest and most indebted states in Nigeria, according to Debt Management Office (DMO). So, the state with its meagre resources, has the financial capacity to fund such an expensive administrative adventure when there are life-touching projects crying for attention?
“I therefore call on Governor Gboyega Oyetola to, as a matter of urgency, patriotism and financial prudence, pause and perish this ill-conceived plan of council bosses, who are only by this act, out to squander the common wealth of the people.”
In his opinion, one Ettu Muhammad said, “This cash will pay the old minimum wage of N18,000 which I doubt Osun can pay; that is a total number of 6,388 civil servants in a month. This cash can pay 532 civil servants their salaries for one year.
“The governor of the state should pull the brakes of this brazen wastage. They can bring Dubai to Nigeria at ⅛ the cost and get exposed to the best. They can engage Nigerian to teach them for less than N10million and get the best.”
ALGON justifies trip
The state chapter of the Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON) in a statement signed by the state chairman, Mr Abiodun Idowu, said the issue was a rumour orchestrated by the opposition.
Though, the council chairmen did not deny the proposed trip and the budget being proposed, they blamed the public outcry on the work of opposition.
The statement reads, “The attention of the Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON), state of Osun branch, has been drawn to the deliberate distortions of facts on the social media concerning the proposed training trip to be embarked upon by the 68 local council chairmen to Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
“While we would not ordinarily have bothered joining issues with rumour mongers and well-known merchants of falsehoods and their mercenaries in the mainstream media, we as a responsible organisation feel we owe the peace and development loving people of the state of Osun as a responsibility to set the records straight lest unsuspecting will be misinformed by these stray group of professional liars who are hell bent on destroying our beloved state, if we decide to maintain a dignified silence. Since these elements are known to hold the belief that to continue to spread lies will make the people believe them if the lies are big enough, we think a decent clarification of the facts became necessary.
“It would be recalled that the Rauf Aregbesola’s administration saw the urgent need to strengthen and engender development at the grassroots by creating 68 local councils in the state over two years ago. As a result of the unique parliamentary system adopted by the councils, the administration saw the need to sponsor the chairmen for a 10-day training in Dubai. The funds for the training have been approved to be facilitated by a well-known logistics firm, ETCETERA INTERACTIONS LIMITED which entered into an agreement with the state government some months ago. Unfortunately, due to other pressing state matters, the trip was postponed.
“We, therefore, remained dismayed by the orchestrated falsehoods by these agents of darkness and lawlessness to paint the picture of gloom that the trip was recently approved by Governor Gbenga Oyetola when it is, in fact, to public knowledge that it is not. Can they be decent enough to take politics away from the gutters please? Although, we are comfortably numb to the opposition: its cons, its lies, lest we forget, its failure to install illiterate as governor of the state of Osun.
“We are therefore calling on all state of Osun indigenes both home and abroad to shun the falsehoods orchestrated by the visionless opposition against our hardworking governor. We also assure all that the chairmen’s training trip is for their benefit. It will come with knowledge transfer which are much-needed for good governance at the grassroots.”
In reaction to the public outcry, the state governor, Mr Oyetola, in a statement by his chief press secretary, Mr Adeniyi Adesina, ordered immediate cancellation of the foreign trip, saying, “Although it is desirable to continue to expose government officials to capacity building, the time is not auspicious for this trip, which was approved in September 2018.”
The governor assured public officers in the state that they will continue to be given the benefit of training at the appropriate time as the financial situation of the state permits.