Hon. Chief Chukwudi Mayor Eze is the Special Adviser to Imo State Governor on Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs. Mayor Eze is a household name in Imo State having served as executive chairman of Orlu LGA, ALGON chairman and House of Representatives member for Orlu/Orsu/Oru East Federal Constituency.
In this exclusive interview with John Meziem of Saturday Nigerian Horn on Friday, the Special Adviser noted that transparency is back in Imo Local Government Areas.
He disclosed that his Bureau will make sure that the local governments live up to expectations, adding that “it is new era of responsible governance in Imo.”
Mayor Eze also explained the controversial N3.5million security vote approved for the Interim Management Committee Chairmen of LGAs.
Good afternoon SA, so far so good. How is your Bureau doing?
The Bureau is good. We are trying to introduce the best practices in the local governments again. We held the JAAC meeting on Thursday. You are in Imo state, you can ask when last it was held. We will make sure that the local governments live up to the expectations and justify this trust.
Yes its true you held JAAC on Thursday. As the chairman of JAAC in the state, what’s the magic?
The magic is simple, Doing the right things. You know during campaigns, the people are used to not taking politicians serious because of many failed promises. We are now witnesses that H. E, Rt Hon. Emeka Ihedioha has proven that his word is truly his bond. He campaigned on letting local governments access to their funds, we have seen it. Its our duties now to make sure that our Chairmen of interim management committees of our various local governments are working. I assure you that in two weeks time, you will begin to see very visible works going on in all the local governments. The idea of federalism is a beautiful one. There are three major Chief executives in charge of security and welfare of the people. Executive Chairman, Executive Governor and Executive President. Our Governor has made it possible through his polices that Imo people will be full beneficiaries of his executive status and those of the local governments. While expecting that the federal government does its part. Its a new era of responsible governance in Imo state.
Are the chairmen really ready for work?
I have absolutely no reason to doubt their resolve. By the Grace of God, I head the Bureau that supervises them and we meet regularly to plan on ways and means. They will make us proud. There will be strict monitoring of their expenditure to make sure that they all stay on track. We are here, time will tell.
The so called security vote of N3.5m to the Chairmen is generating controversies here and there, what’s the true position?
Well it has no reason to if we properly understand it. The chairmen are the chief security officers of their various local governments. Please go to any local government of your choice and sit daily inside the chairman’s office and see the security challenges he handles and what it costs daily. At the end of the month, you do the math and make your studies public. Chief executives are not soared weekends in security challenges and expenditures. I was a local government chairman fifteen years ago. Consider what we had then and now taking into consideration the value of money then and now, plus the security challenges. Taking all these into consideration, you will know the figure is not as bad as people are making it look. Unemployment has posed increased security challenges. Then considering the fact that it came from the legislative arm and not the executive because the House of Assembly, through a resolution on the security challenges now, arrived at that figure for the local governments. Whenever I meet with traditional rulers, security issues also dominate our discussions. We all live in communities, you should know whether security challenges are going up or coming down.
Is it true the chairmen are waiting for allocations, did they receive it directly?
That is the essence of JAAC. After the statutory deductions which includes traditional rulers salaries and SUBEB they got their allocations. Go to your local government chairman and ask him to show you what he or she got this month and what they used to get. You compare it and let the world know.
How much came to the LGAs?
There is no way I can remember all now. It was announced publicly and they all recorded the figures. Any government that wants secrecy will not hold Jaac meetings.
Will the local governments comply with the TSA policy?
Definitely. Its for everyone’s good if transperency is valued. Its the state governments policy so they have absolutely no reason to object to it.
What mechinery are you putting in place to give the proper guidelines?
When you read the operational guidelines given to them, you will appreciate our seriousness. They will also submit their monthly income and expenditure details for verifications. Any expenditure exceeding the approval limit of their F&GPCs needs to come to the Bureau for scrutiny and approvals.
Thanks for your time.
Thanks for your attempt to hear from me.