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The Anambra State government has made public its plan to introduce a Local Government Road Maintenance Agency, which will play a crucial role in maintaining commutable roads in all communities, regardless of the season.
Hon. Collins Nwabunwanne, the Commissioner for Local Government, Chieftaincy, and Town Union Matters, emphasized during a press briefing in Awka that the agency’s funding will be derived from a collaborative effort between the state and local government. This ensures a prudent utilization of the allocation allocated to the third-tier of government.
He pointed out that the governor, Professor Chukwuma Soludo, has laid out a well-defined roadmap, stressing that the state’s success is contingent upon the effectiveness and accomplishments of the local governments.
The Commissioner said: ‘If the local governments don’t work, then the state government automatically collapses. One of the major challenges in the state was that the local government system was in disarray when we came on board.’
‘Workers were not going to their offices and with the new system of payment of salaries through the electronic banking, people were getting salaries without working. In fact, some of the workers only went to their offices towards the end of the month to confirm that their names were still on the payroll.’
‘When we investigated, we found out that the reason people were not going to work was because there were no basic working tools. We discovered that most offices either did not have chairs, or the available ones had broken down; there was no electricity, no computers and termites were growing in many offices because people no longer entered them.’
‘Some of the local government chairmen were living in hotels outside their areas and we wondered how any meaningful development could take place under such a situation.’
‘However, during our visit to the councils, the workers assured us that they were ready to work if the working tolls were provided and that is why we have decided to put their offices in good shape.’
‘We also discovered that majority of local government workers belong to the junior cadre who have not been exposed to any training. Today, the story has changed as we have trained about 2000 of them and by the time this administration celebrates second year in office, we would have trained additional 3000 workers, while others will be exposed to seminars that would help to enhance their promotion.’
According to his observations, the emergence of caretaker committees as a prevailing trend can be attributed to the sway of influential individuals within different communities, who insist on having a say in appointing personnel.
‘We have put machinery in place to conduct election in all the communities and already, over 100 communities have elected their Presidents General and with that, development has commenced in those communities.’
‘We will not impose anybody on them, but we will encourage them to evolve smooth means of electing their leaders,’ Nwabunwanne said.