No fewer than 351 councillors and 33 clerks of the Legislative Councils of the 33 local councils in Oyo State, on Wednesday, in Ibadan, began a three-day training on legislative roles and duties in local government administration.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the training is being organised by Office of the Special Adviser on Legislative Matters, in conjunction with the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters.
NAN also reports that the training is holding at World Lilies Hotel, Apata, Ibadan.
Speaking at the occasion, Special Adviser to Gov. Seyi Makinde on Legislative Matters, Mr Adejumobi Ademola, said that the training was aimed at intimating and grooming the newly-elected councillors on their legislative duties and oversight functions.
Ademola, who said that the training would enable the councillors understand the rudiments of their assignments, added that they would be given proper orientation on legislative activities at the grassroots level.
He commended Gov. Seyi Makinde for approving the training, saying that it would enhance the job of the councillors and clerks of the legislative councils.
The governor’s aide urged the councillors to avoid clashing with the executive in their respective council areas, stressing that they should replicate the existing harmonious working relationship between the executive and the legislature at the state level.
While calling for strict observance of the principle of separation of powers, he called on chairmen to allow the legislative arm to perform their functions without interference to avoid confusion.
In his address of welcome, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters, Mr Segun Ajekiigbe, said that the training was first of its kind in recent time.
He said further that it was aimed at setting the pace for greater things to happen in all the local government councils in the state.
Ajekiigbe said that government decided to put the training together to address the ‘serious lacuna’ observed in the series of research conducted on local government administration in Nigeria since the advent of the current dispensation in 1999.
“The republic largely identified the wide gaps between council chairmen and councillors as major encumbrances to grassroots development.
“The gaps were attributed to superiority complex between the executive chairmen and councilors, occasioned by educational qualifications, experience and social status,” he noted.
He stated that the present administration in the state would cement the relationship between the councillors and council chairmen, with the intention to raise the bar of local administration in the state.
The permanent secretary further said that the role of councilors, as the true representatives of the masses, in facilitating anticipated developments to them could not be swept under the carpet.
“As councillors, you must take cognisance of your role in carrying out executive oversight and ensuring budget management, effective use of budget resources and transparency in budgeting.
“It is incontestable that meaningful development does not happen overnight.
“Nations that have witnessed and still experiencing transformation rely on effective strategic planning in governing their people,” he said.
Ajekiigbe tasked the councillors on a new paradigm shift that would engender a workable strategic development plan.
NAN reports that Dr Stephen Lafenwa, of Department of Political Science, University of Ibadan, delivered a lecture on “Local Government Structure and Significance of Elected Councillors in Grassroots Development.”
In the same vein, Dr Musah Abdulwasi, Chairman, State House of Assembly Service Commission, delivered a lecture on “Understanding the Act of Lawmaking at the Local Government Level.”
The duo emphasised the need for the council officials to understand the place of local government in the provision of good governance for the masses.
Abdulwasi, a former Deputy Speaker of the assembly, added that the task of lawmaking was very crucial to good enhancing governance at the grassroots.