AKEREDOLU'S SPEECH AT THE SWEARING-IN OF NEWLY ELECTED LOCAL COUNCIL CHAIRMEN - TMnews Magazine Online

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AKEREDOLU'S SPEECH AT THE SWEARING-IN OF NEWLY ELECTED LOCAL COUNCIL CHAIRMEN

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MONDAY, 24TH AUGUST, 2020

I must waste no time to congratulate the good people of Ondo State for the outcome of the just-concluded election in all the 18 Local Government Councils of Ondo State. The peaceful conduct of the electorate offers enough assurance on the readiness of our people to co-operate with our administration for the development of the State.  Let me thank the Chairman and members of ODIEC for their efforts in ensuring that the exercise was successful.

We have tried our best since the inception of this administration by making the people the central focus of all our policies.  We have tried to keep all unscrupulous persons masquerading as servants of the people at bay. We have severed ties from those whose deeds and preferences stand against decency and are inimical to the well-being of the people.

Our ambition has been shaped by the overriding interest of the State. We have never been under any illusion that governance will not pose its challenges considering the precarious state of the economy when we assumed office and the continued slide in the economic fortunes of the country.
We have, however, remained undaunted and resolute in our resolve to abridge the yawning gap in the welfare of our people.  We have taken steps which posterity will adjudge as prescient.  We have succeeded, largely, in abridging the infrastructural deficit in spite of acute paucity of funds.  Workers and citizens have felt the direct and positive impact of governance.  We will continue to strive to make the voice of the people count in all decisions taken on their behalf as we move into the second phase of our statutory mandate of service.

The impressive turn-out in all the Local Governments confirms that the partnership between the government and the people is an enduring one. For this, we express gratitude. We will always remember this expression of unalloyed goodwill.  The best way to pay back is to give good service that will continue to improve the conditions of living of our people.   We do not intend to forget this gesture, conscious of the axiom that the reward for hard work is another opportunity to serve diligently and conscientiously. 

I thank the leaders of the political parties which participated in the elections for their understanding and maturity displayed throughout the exercise.  I congratulate all contestants in the elections.  I thank the leaders of our party, All Progressives Congress, for their unflinching support. The people of the State are the ultimate winners.  The victories recorded at the polls must not be taken as licence to embrace recklessness and wanton display of arrogance. Our administration will continue to discourage all attitudes which subordinate the interests of the generality of the people to parochial and selfish preferences.

We are irrevocably committed to the welfare of the people.  This promise to conduct an election into the third tier of government, actualised almost seamlessly, points at our readiness to take governance to the people at the grassroots through their elected representatives. The just-concluded exercise was not perfect, as there were reports of a few hiccups in some units and one or two wards across the State.  However, most keen observers, untainted with partisanship, and politicians alike, will readily agree that our administration is committed to real development in the State.  It is our belief that outright lies and deception must not become the directive principles of State policies.  We will not make promises that are not realisable. Our word is our bond.

The conduct of the Local Government Election in the State must be seen as integral to the mandate of redemption graciously extended to our party by the good people of Ondo State.  The people would have been availed of the service of their elected representatives long before this time. There have been several extenuating circumstances which militated against the conduct of any election before now. The exigencies of the moment made this exercise mandatory at this moment. Our administration tried to make this exercise possible in spite of plausible reasons justifying delay and/or outright non-committal to an earlier promise made to take governance to the people.

We must hasten to admonish all the newly elected representatives of the people at this most important segment of the society.   If there have been any misgivings in the past as regards the logic which impelled the establishment of the third tier of government, this administration intends to clear the doubts. The creation of the Local Government Administration in 1976 was, as declared by the military government at that time, to bring the government to the downtrodden.  Successive administrations, at all levels, have failed to realise the objectives.

Any honest commentary on the situation of things at this level
of engagement with the people cannot be salutary. It is ostensible that citizens, living in the hinterlands, have been extended the short end of the stick in the polity until the advent of our administration.  It is our fervent hope that this deplorable trend will be reversed, progressively and appreciably, before the expiration of the statutory mandate permissible by law.  The impact of governance must be felt at this level. Positive interventions must be discernible in the areas of health care delivery, education, agriculture, commerce, public works etc.

The people have spoken, eloquently, on their preferences.  It is our bounden duty to ensure that nothing and nobody thwarts this message, delivered without ambiguity.  This occasion affords us the opportunity to assert, without any fear of contradiction, that the realistic expectations of the people will be set as priorities which will determine the remaining journey of our administration.  Anyone who harbours any aspirations extraneous to the welfare of the people will be discouraged.  On this, there will be no compromise.  No elected representative will be allowed to trample on them without dire consequences.

All the elected representatives of the people must wean themselves off the illusion of wanton disregard to the established precepts in the discharge of their responsibilities. Supporters and party loyalists will do well to assist them in keeping to the laws of the land. This administration has made our people to believe in the observance of the extant principles of the law in all circumstances.

The results from some localities showed some measure of opposition to the ruling party. This is a verdict on the quality of performance of elected or appointed political leaders associated with the ruling party.   It is expected in a democracy. Any wise leader will take a cue from this experience and adjust appropriately. As this government, under our leadership, concludes the first phase, we shall be seeking a renewed mandate permissible in law.  This has become necessary because of our bid to consolidate on the gains recorded already.

May I be permitted to inform the newly elected representatives of the people that this administration frowns at impunity in any form.  We will not condone any acts which may put our achievements in jeopardy. We will monitor the activities of all those given the mandate to serve.  We will encourage ingenuity and resourcefulness.  We will sanction, swiftly, any errant behaviour which treats the welfare of the people with contempt.

While we congratulate the members of the families of the new leaders in the Local Governments of the State, we must not fail to admonish them to refrain from mounting pressures which may hinder quality performance.  We must assist them to excel in the discharge of their duties.  We must also bring to the attention of the State Government any aberrant behaviour which stands at variance with the philosophy of service as espoused by this administration. 

We solicit the support of the people in the days ahead, as we approach the general election.  We will encourage all those who seek to offer themselves for service to the people to conduct themselves with utmost civility. We will not condone violence or any anti-social behavior disguised as political campaign.  We will sanction deviance swiftly and firmly.

I congratulate all the winners in the election.  I rejoice with them for being given this rare opportunity to serve the people.  I thank the people of Ondo State for standing by this Government at this difficult moment. I thank all security agencies for their cooperation.

I thank the Almighty for the continued protection and guidance.

I thank you all for your patience.

ARAKUNRIN OLUWAROTIMI ODUNAYO AKEREDOLU, SAN
THE GOVERNOR OF ONDO STATE
 

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