Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State has advised newly-elected local government chairmen in the state to embrace accountability and responsiveness in administering their councils.
The governor gave the advice at the Government House, Benin on Monday, while swearing in the chairmen for the 18 local government areas in the state, elected on Saturday.
Mr. Obaseki cautioned that the era where councils’ bosses left debts for their successors would not be accepted.
He said that his administration had in the last 17 months been offsetting debts owed by their predecessors.
He disclosed that the state government had set aside N2 billion saved from the Paris Funds refunds in the councils’ treasury for the chairmen to start their activities.
The governor urged the chairmen to come up with their budgets within two weeks.
“You are not coming to meet an empty treasury. I have saved your Paris refund in excess of N2 billion and some of the councils have savings in excess of N2 billion.
“So, you will be coming into office with some reserves and savings. I will monitor to see how these funds are utilised,” he said.
Mr. Obaseki urged the council bosses to take a clue from what his administration was doing at the state level and replicate same in their areas.
“The increasing acceptability of the laudable programmes of the All Progressive Congress enabled you to get the victory at polls so we don’t expect less from you.
“We do not spend local government revenue and the state does not interfere with your revenue; we only insist that basic school teachers’ salaries should be paid first.
‘’Your sole responsibility must be the welfare of the people in your council and focus on enduring projects that will impact lives,’’ he said.
The governor assured of his administration’s support, especially for the “weakest LGAs to enable them improve the livelihood of people at the grassroots and curb illegal migration’’.
In his vote of thanks on behalf of other chairmen, Jenkins Osunde, Chairman of Oredo Local Government Area, thanked people of the state for finding them worthy to pilot the affairs of councils.
He assured that they would justify the confidence reposed in them and build on the foundation already laid by the Obaseki administration.
“We will deliver on our campaign promises,’’ Mr. Osunde said.
DAILY POST reports that all the chairmen were elected on the platform of the All Progressive Congress (APC).