4th June, 2010
The Lagos State, Nigeria, Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, prince Oluwarotimi Ojo Agunsoye has denied ever covering up for any local government chairman for non performance, rather he stated that he was impressed with the activities of the local government councils so far. In an interview with Political Train, the Ijebu-Jesha, Osun State- born commissioner also gave pass mark to his boss, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola for his performance. Excerpts.
Q: How would youÂ assess your ministry in the last three years of Governor Fasholaâ€™s administration?
A: Thank you very much, it will be very difficult for me to assess myself because Iâ€™m involved, we are in it together, so for me to assess myself, I will not be fair to our people.
What we are doing currently is to assess the chairmen of the 37 Local Council Development Areas, LCDAs and 20 Local Government Areas (LGAs). We are moving round, assessing the activities of everyone of them. Very soon, you will hear from us.
Q: The local government chairmen have just spent a little over 500 days in office what was the target given them?
A: When they started, they started with planning. We opened their eyes to what they were coming to do in office, by giving them a kind of administrative retreat immediately after the election, before they were sworn-in.
It was to let them know the kind of job they were coming to do, and we happily welcome them to help, because in Lagos state itâ€™s all work. To serve the people and ensure that they get the best out of government, that is what we do day-in, day-out.
The moment they assumed office, some spent six months in planning for what to be done, some used only two or three months, but to God be the glory, we see what they are doing currently.
So far, so good they are not doing badly, but by the time we come out with our assessments, you will be able to know.
Q: Are you now promising us that the result of the assessment will be announced?
A: The point is this, there are so many NGOs writing to do Independent assessments of the local governments and we have given them the go ahead, telling them to let us know how far they are moving.
Q: There is this allegation that you as a person tried to cover up some of the local government chairmen from their bad performances, how far is this true?
A: Let me tell you the truth, Iâ€™m not here to cover anybodyâ€™s short coming, Iâ€™ve always been telling them from time to time that if they do not perform they would be exposed. You are aware that I move to inspect the activities of the local government councils from time to time, having met me on the field on several occasions. I move from local government to local government from time to time just to ensure that they are working. I put them on their toes, and they are working. So, for me to cover up no, I am not that kind of a leader.
Q: How many local government councils have you assessed so far?
A: When the time comes, weâ€™ll let you know what we are doing. We are moving, we are seriously moving.
Q: Some months back you went on environmental awareness and cleaning in all the local government councils in the state, silting their drainages. Have you gone back to know whether the environment was kept clean by the residents?
A: I told you, I move around from time to time. Where they are not doing very well in terms of environmental cleanliness, I told them that they needed to intensify their efforts, and that was to let you know that they are doing it. And I told you quite well that the work is for the residents, we move down to educate our people on how to keep their environment clean.
You see, why we kept on hammering on the need to keep their drainages free is because the kind of rainfall we are still going to have in the coming weeks will be very serious, and we do not pray for any flooding in Lagos. That is why we are doing this in conjunction with the Lagos State Ministry of the Environment.
Q: How would you want to assess Governor Fashola,Â after three years in office?
A: We give God the glory, so far so good, he has performed very well, but I am in the system, I am part of the team, it will be difficult for me to say Iâ€™m assessing him. But one thing I know about him is that he is a workaholic, he is still the best man for the job, he knows how to do it, and he is doing it well.
Q: What would you want to say about him personally?
A: He is a listening governor, a teacher. I wonder why he is not in the lecture room teaching students, because he knows how to do that very well.
Once in a while, we learn about law from him during the exco meetings. He is a man who believes in the people he is serving, I can tell you that categorically. And those are the qualities we imbibed from him.
Q: Sir, you once told me that any local government chairman who failed to perform will be sanctioned, while those who perform will be rewarded, we have not heard anything about this?
A: You are in a hurry, I told you we are working. Let us work, when we finish, then weâ€™ll call you, donâ€™t worry.