Local Government occupies the third tiers in the ladder, and by their creation they are to provide social amenities within the limit of funds available to councils, as well as cater for primary schools teacher’s salaries in the council.
However, council’s in Bayelsa State are not meeting these responsibilities, particularly payment of teacher’s salaries, provision of less capital intensive amenities to improve welfare and the lives of the grassroots people.
Sadly, even minor maintenance such as repair of dilapidated school roofs, particularly as the rains are here, are not done, chairs for pupils to sit is inadequate, as well as other instructional materials to aid learning within their ambit are not executed.
The situation is such that public schools are not depopulated, while parents interested in the education of their children, have populated private schools in the state.
The council has jettison sanitation of the markets and abattoirs, and the grassroots people no longer feel their presence owing to their inability to discharge their constitutional duties.
The function of councils among others include, maintenance to rural roads, hospitals, provision of public toilets, provision of amenities to schools, cleaning of markets, parks, and abattoirs.
When Inside Niger Delta visited Ogbia Local Government council, Madam Azibatara Ayam, a staff told our correspondent that the council is finding it difficult to pay workers salaries, and that it has neglected other function within the ambit of law that they ought to do to improve welfare and lives of the people.
She pointed that some children are at home because their parents are unable to send them to private schools, sequel council’s inability to effect maintenance in the schools, as most the rustic roofs are leaking with rain water flooding classrooms. Continuing, Ayam noted that children are dying of preventable disease such as common cold, cough, catarrh and diarrhea owing absence of
drugs in the council’s health centre.
Another respondent, Mr Ebiakpo Doumotimi explained that there is no sign of local government council presence in Southern Ijaw LGA, stressing that as the council with the biggest allocation one would have expected that the lives and wellbeing of rural dwellers would have been face lift but it remains a far cry.
He alluded that pupils still sit on bare floor to read and write, sanitary condition of the school lavatory is poor, access road leading to the schools in a state of disrepair, adding that government timely intervention is needed to correct the anomalies.
Barrister, Fredrick Eneni, a private legal practitioner in Yenagoa, said the situation is not different in other councils, even as he blamed council’s helmsmen for the dearth of minor social amenities within the purview of their mandate.
He reasoned that a timely seminar of reforms is necessary to redress the ugly trend, adding that council’s with the allocation from federal account should be able to provide basic amenities that would have direct bearing with the wellbeing of rural dwellers.
Another respondent, Comrade Morris Alagoa, said council helmsmen should begin to sacrifice into to move council’s forward, adding a situation where council’s are owing rural dwellers is unacceptable, their inability to carry out minor repair in schools is appalling, petrol powered generator and drugs cannot be donated to hospital to safe lives before referrals is worrisome.
He therefore called for a seminar to correct the anomalies in council for better efficiency.
He, however, commended the Chairman of Yenagoa Community, Hon Oboku
Oforji for ultra-modern market stores built at the central Ekeki motor park, which has given the park a face lift as against the ram shackle structures that littered the park prior to the new malls.
Also, he noted that staff welfare/salaries was given priority, small and medium scale enterprises were supported, while less capital intensive projects were embarked on that are within the purview of local government administration.
To this end, he therefore called on others to also sacrifice by following the exemplary administrative style of the Yenagoa council’s helmsman to give the rural people a sense of belongings.