ACQUISITION OF N17M CARS BY COUNCIL CHAIRMEN- MISPLACEMENT OF PRIORITY

There has been public outcry over the alleged acquisition of 17 million naira exotic cars by the 25 local council chairmen in Delta State. This uproar gained more fuel when the chairman of Oshimilli South Local Government Council, who doubles as the Vice Chairman, Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON), Delta State Chapter, Hon. Barr. Chux Obusom disclosed during an interview with pressmen recently, that the Council Chairmen went into a contract with a car dealer to supply Toyota Camry saloon cars at an estimated cost of 17 million naira to each of the 25 Council Chairmen which will be paid gradually by each Local Government Council through funds saved from Local Government IGR’s and biometric returns to the Councils.
At a time when most local government workers and primary school teachers in the state are being owed over 10 months backlog of salaries, this action by the council chairmen smacks of crass insensitivity to the plight of their workers, irresponsible and a colossal misplacement of priorities. It is a clear indication that most leaders, in this case, local government chairmen, seek public office for the sole purpose of self aggrandizement at the detriment of the masses.
Although it is a known fact that local government chairmen are entitled to Toyota Camry cars as their official cars while in office, the present economic realities on ground suggests that the scarce resources available to local councils should be channeled into projects that will go a long way in alleviating the sufferings of the citizens they represent and the unpaid local council staff. Rather than embark on the purchase of such exotic cars, especially with barely two months to the end of their tenure, the council chairmen should have used the funds to undertake some community development projects like; installing toilets and water systems in markets, rehabilitation of some dilapidated roads, sinking of bore-holes in some rural areas that are in dire need of potable water or the offsetting of some percentage of salary arrears, which would have showcased them as selfless leaders who have the interest of the masses at heart.
The scenario paints a picture of a father who irresponsibly embarks on a jamboree while his wife and children are left at home with no food to eat. More so, they will not be leaving these cars behind at the expiration of their term in office for the incoming administration.
It should also be noted that IGR’s generated from the local government do not belong to the council chairmen, but the entire local government and its citizenry and therefore, all right thinking individuals should see this action by the council chairmen for what it is a breach of public trust and misappropriation of local government funds. Since the local government chairmen are keen on pointing to the provisions of the law to justify their outrageous spending of public funds, they should also as a matter of equity purchase cars for their vice-chairmen and secretaries to the local government, as the law also made provisions for them to acquire official cars because, as the saying goes, ‘what is good for the goose, is also good for the gander and “he who comes to equity must come with clean hands”.
Government at all levels while appealing to the masses to tighten their belts and courageously face the present economic downturn, should also show restraint in extravagant and flamboyant lifestyles. Leaders must be seen to practice what they preach and understand that the collective and overall welfare of the masses should be their primary responsibility and must supersede all selfish and primordial instinct for the primitive accumulation of wealth to the detriment of the masses.
If this is done, we will slowly but surely weather the storm of economic stagnation and together build a nation of our dreams, where equity and justice reign supreme.

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