Breaking the Silence: Save Bayelsa Local Government Council
“Currently the Education sector is one area the Governor Seriake Dickson Administration seems to be most proud of, in terms of its achievements. The government has built schools and renovated others. It has established brand new Educational institutions like the International Institute of Tourism and Hospitality, Yenagoa, University of Africa, Toru-Orua and the Ijaw National Academy. While I comment the government for these and its other efforts, I am of the few that all these would be wasted efforts as long as our Primary education system remains in shambles.”
For a while now I have stayed out of discussing Public Policy in Bayelsa State because I said to myself: "What the hell, why waste more time when all you have said over the years haven't made any real difference?"
The thought that I have been wasting two of my most valued assets, namely: 1. My Time; and 2. My Words; bade me stay off lifting up any heavy topics.
Nonetheless, I have to break my silence today because it has become clear to me that I cannot rely on others to say the things I am supposed to say mainly because very few people in this world can view things from my perspective until I reveal what I am actually thinking. Having laid the background, now let's go into my main reason for writing today, namely the State of the Local Government Councils in Bayelsa State and the plight of their workers and citizens.
From my estimation, more than 90% of Bayelsans live in the Local Government Councils. I can very well say 100% giving that even those who reside in the State Capital, Yenagoa, live in Yenagoa Local Government Area. Still allow me to work with my modest estimate of 90% with a view at distinguishing between the domain of the State Government and the Local Government Councils that are the focus of this piece today.
Bayelsa is mostly rural with most of what could be termed urban life concentrated in Yenagoa. So in essence, the vast majority of the citizens live within the domains of the Local Government Councils. So when the Local Government Councils fail, a vast majority of the citizens suffer.
For a long while now, despite receiving Monthly federally Distributed Statutory Allocations, the Local Government Councils in Bayelsa State have been unable to meet their basic financial obligations. Many (if not all of them) owe their workers many months Salary.
The main effective of the foregoing is that essential public goods suffer a great deal.
I will illustrate this below with two sectors of the Local Governments that are currently suffering due to the inability of the Councils to pay their workers, viz: Primary Education and Primary Healthcare.
I have seen many people say that the salaries of Primary School Teachers are not the obligation of the State. That is true. However, the greater truth is that given that Primary Education is the foundation of a citizen's educational odyssey, all the investments of the State in Secondary and Tertiary Education would come to nothing without a properly funded and managed Primary Education System in the state. So the State Government must as a matter of utmost urgency begin to take more interest in what is happening to the Primary Education system in the State. Currently the Education sector is one area the Governor Seriake Dickson Administration seems to be most proud of, in terms of its achievements. The government has built schools and renovated others. It has established brand new Educational institutions like the International Institute of Tourism and Hospitality, Yenagoa, University of Africa, Toru-Orua and the Ijaw National Academy. While I comment the government for these and its other efforts, I am of the few that all these would be wasted efforts as long as our Primary education system remains in shambles.
Also, giving that many of the rural communities lack General Hospitals, Primary Healthcare centres are the main hope to meet the health needs of the people in the Rural Areas. So when the Local Government Councils that receive Allocation on a monthly basis fail to pay Healthcare workers under their employ to man the Primary Healthcare Centres under their domains, it is the poor citizens in the rural areas that suffer.
It is unthinkable that the Government that is supposed to be nearest to the grassroots is in near coma in Bayelsa State. As long as more than 90% of the Citizens live in the Local Governments, there is a need for all stakeholders, especially the State government to ensure that this tier of government works effectively and efficiently for the sake of the citizens. This is because when the LGAs work properly, the reduce pressure and burdens on the State Government.
This piece is therefore an SOS call for everyone to come together to save the Local Government Councils in Bayelsa State. We must begin to ask ourselves why the Local Government Councils have been struggling and work to address to questions in the interest of all. How do we improve their management in order for them to better serve our people? That is the question I indeed to spark in all minds with is effort.
Health is Wealth; Education is Light and Knowledge is Power; they say. So the Local Government Councils must be made to work better in order to cater for the Primary Education and Primary healthcare needs of our people.
Finally, let me use this medium to congratulate my brother and friend, Honourable Perez Omoun on his election as the Chairman of Patani Local Government Council of Delta State.He is a competent and passionate gentleman who has always had the development of his people at heart. It is my hope that he would do better for Patani than what is presently the case in Bayelsa State.
Fortune God’sSon Alfred, Publisher of www.sayelbatimes.com , Policy Analyst, Social Media Strategist, Brand and Perception Manager writes from Nembe, Bayelsa State. You can reach him by following him on Twitter via @ElMagnificento1 and Instagram @kingfga