As the much talked local government council elections gather weight in Delta state, the people of Oshimili south, one of the nine local government areas in Delta North, should work to retain the legacies of the incumbent chairman, Barrister Chuks John Obusom, has been able to build in his first tenure by throwing their weights behind his second term ambition.
Indeed, the Oshimili South Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) caucus, king makers, moneybags and other stakeholders shouldn’t jeopardize the future of the council by bequeathing it to another for selfish gains neither should the council be given to inexperienced politicians as political settlements.
Since October 2014 when Obusom assumed office as the chairman, he is one of the fewest if there is any to develop a reformed model for the identification of indigenes of the council which has been infiltrated by some persons from across the Niger.
“We have been able to establish a thorough and a reformed way of identifying Oshimili South indigenes. Before I assumed this office, so many people from across the Niger, you see them flouting identification letters. This has made us not only to lose crucial positions in terms of employment. Even outside here, in the military and other places, some people have gone there using Oshimili South slot”, he revealed.
Several things that actually went wrong with the identification process have been corrected. “We reformed the process. I personally signed identification letters and I will screen you, if I need to make calls, I do and of course before you have my signature on your identification letter, you must have established that you are from Oshimili South. I was able to write to the ministries doing the screening. If you don’t have anybody with my own signature don’t honour it”, this move has yielded positive results.
The step has also taken care of non-indigenes who masqueraded as indigenes of the council area, “I think that is a reformatory step”.
“After thorough investigation, I have over 50 identification letters that I refused to sign because the people are not from Oshimili South council. Before I sign any letter, we must get across to the family of the person, the traditional ruler, the member representing the person at the state house of assembly. I don’t just sign identification letters. And if someone else must sign when I am not available, I monitor it.”
It would have been regrettable that over 50 benefits that would have come to Oshimili indigenes would have been signed out, “If I had signed those over 50 letters, which means I would have signed away 50 jobs, education and other benefits that would have come to 50 Oshimili South indigenes”.
The Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of the council which lacks organization when he assumed office has been properly harnessed by enacting laws prohibiting self-help in revenue collection. “We did what is called enumeration, trying to identify our revenue sources and then we discovered also that there is need to have a revenue bye-law as there was no one that was effective then. And after that we set up a system of revenue collection where revenues that are being generated is channelled to the banks, there is no cash collection, any cash collection is illegal.
“We tried to dissuade self-help in revenue collection. When they use taskforce to molest people here and there which to me as a lawyer is unacceptable and we have to make sure that people are tried through due process to ensure that they have been served and we will now use a judicial process to get our revenue.”
Barr Obusom, an innovator, was able to remove revenue courts from rented apartments across the council and the move led to the erection of a gigantic revenue court in the council premises. “I have tried to check, I have never seen a local government council in the 774 LGAs in the country that built a revenue court.”
In his desire to end about three years of power outage in the council’s secretariat, he was able to procure a 13KVA transformer to make the environment conducive for workers.
He started a poultry farm in the council with the 2% allocation which the law requested of the councils to set aside for agricultural project. “We have just finished disposing some of them and we want to start stocking for the Christmas period.”
The 2% set aside for agricultural project from the allocation has been fully utilized. “The constitution provides that 2% from the allocation be channelled into agric project, when I came into power, it was not in existence but we have been able to start it and some of the livestock we reared have been sold. We are working towards restocking for the Christmas season”.
The council was able to partake in the grading of the out-roads with the fixing of the tractors to sand fill some roads that need attention with particular reference to the Oko area in spite of the financial down turn. “On assumption of office also when we had SURE-P, we were able to get farm seedlings; okro, yams for the farmers at the Oko area to boost food production and we were able to construct and commission Ogbeogonogo market with over 300 shops (lockup and open shops)”.
The council chairman said some flash points where criminals carry out their nefarious activities that have given indigenes and residents’ sleepless nights have been demolished.
“Some areas along Ibusa road and Abraka market that have been turned to places where illicit sex is done with under aged and where kidnappers used as their hideout were demolished”.
He has also taken steps to ensure that a central motor park of his dream to end the haphazard parking along the road by drivers would be a thing of the past and a cemetery where the dead could be given a befitting burial comes on stream. The visions have been birthed!
This opinion article was written by Kenneth Orusi from Asaba, Delta state.