By Henry Odeh
Oyo State House of Assembly on Tuesday was engaged in a heated plenary debate over a move by one of its lawmakers to embark on oversight assignment to all 33 Local Government Areas in the state in a last minute move to scrutinizing activities of the 33 caretaker chairmen.
According to a Motion presented to the house on its Thursday’s plenary session titled “Urgent Need To Inspect And Scrutinize Activities Of Local Government Areas (LGAs) And Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs)”, the house noted that the oversight will enable the house with first hand information of activities at the local government in order to determine who is suitable to stand the coming local council election.
This move, according to the Assembly, is in recognition of the fact that the current tenure and operation of transition committee Chairmen in LGAs and LCDAs will expire on March 19 in anticipation of the conduct of local government election on May 15.
This, according to the mover of the motion, is to prevent the incoming democratically elected chairmen from incurring unnecessary liabilities from the outgoing caretaker chairmen.
After the submission of the report of stewardship, the local government Chairmen are billed to appear before the Popoola led Adhoc committee, which will subsequently present a report of its findings at a plenary before March 19.
After the submission of the report of stewardship, the local government Chairmen are expected to appear before the Adhoc committee chaired by Popoola, which will subsequently present a report of its findings at a plenary before March 19 when tenure of the caretaker chairmen officially terminates.
Honourable Akintunde Olajide representing Lagelu state constituency, argued that it was right that the local government caretaker Chairmen, once again, be required to give account of the monthly allocations they have got.
Honorable Ashimiyu Alarape, in his submission explained that the house has the constitutional backing to embark on such oversight but urged the house to consider the pending case at the Supreme Court which is billed for May 7th for ruling.
The debate however took a different dimension when Honorable Bimbo Olawunmi Oladeji strongly objected to the move stressing that the house could not afford to deploy scarce resources into another tour of the local government areas barely two months after the house concluded a tour of oversight assignment in the same manner.
She argued that the house could order the caretaker chairmen to submit a comprehensive report to the house for further legislative assessment instead of risking everything to start another tour.
The debate which was argued for and against between lawmakers from the opposition divide saw lawmakers from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) arguing in support for the move while lawmakers from the opposition parties opposed it on the ground that the timing was wrong considering the time left for local government election in the state.
Other lawmakers from the PDP in their separate submissions argued that the oversight tour became imperative because the last oversight tour of the Local Governments (LGs) and Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) unravelled many mistakes from the caretaker chairmen.
They maintained that even the oversight was a herculean task they were willing to embark on it in order to assertain the suitability of chairmen who are willing to contest in the forthcoming local governments election.
Speaker, Adebo Ogundoyin in his remark suggested constituting ad hoc committees for each political zones in the state to embark on the oversight as moved.
In what could be described as a swift reaction, Hon Wumi Oladeji, who was very vocal in her opposition to the move, reminded the Speaker that the names he earlier announced as members of the committee are the same with those in the committee the last oversight tour.
She however, urged the Speaker to simply reassign the new task to the same committee who had handled the same task in the last oversight tour of the local government areas instead creating new ad hoc committees with the same set of lawmakers.
In his reaction, Honorable Seyi Adisa, urged the speaker to consider inculcating lawmakers representing each of the local government at the assembly in the ad hoc committees earlier suggested noting that this will enable a holistic assessment since the ad hoc committees could not understand a local government than a lawmaker representing it at the legislative chambers.
The house, however resolved that the chairmen should forward reports of their stewardship to the state house of assembly through the Popoola led ad hoc committee for further legislative action before March 19th when their tenure officially expires.