Diverse Views Trail Rural Development Ministry’s Scrapping

Ambode

Ambode

MIXED reactions have greeted the scrapping of the Lagos State Ministry of Rural Development, which the Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode described as means of improving the process and procedure of service delivery, to create opportunities for global competitiveness.

It could be recalled that Ambode, who made the announcement last month also announced the abolishment of Monitoring Office and Political & Legislative Powers Bureau. Also scrapped are the Office of the Special Adviser on Taxation and Revenue, Debt Management Office and others, which he described as part of efforts to reduce spending.

He said the step was one of the core strategies for implementing the proclamation in his inaugural speech, which has become compelling to institute some changes and realign the structure of ministries, department and agencies in the state.

While some described the action as good, based on the fact that the ministry did not affect the people positively, due to the sorry state of rural areas, others are of the opinion that the scrapping signals a bad omen for rural communities that had been abandoned by past administrations.

A community leader, who resides in Agbado, a Lagos border community, Apostle Amos Olawoye, condemned the step in its entirety. According to him, the scrapping of the ministry is as bad as scrapping of the existing Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs).

He noted that the decision means that government has indirectly abandoned the state’s developmental responsibilities to the rural communities, which means leaving the communities to survive on their own.

Olawoye noted that though Ambode renamed the ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs as Ministry of Local Government and Community Affairs, in the guise of taking over the abolished ministry’s responsibilities. He wonders if their mandate may not positively have impact on the rural communities.

He therefore urged the governor to rescind his decision in the interest of the people at the grassroots.

But to the traditional ruler of Lisa town, Chief Najeem Oladele Odugbemi, the scrapping was a right step in the right direction, to cut cost of governance in the state. He noted that Lagos is like a city-state, an organised state, where there are many organised areas from Ikorodu, Agege, Epe, Ikoyi to Ajah, that are all high profile areas and no more rural communities, compared to Ondo, Ekiti, Oyo and even Ogun and other states that really need the ministry because of the sorry state of their rural communities.

Said he, “Why must Lagos maintain a ministry of rural areas when they don’t have any work to do? Everywhere in Lagos have turned to urban settlements, so the scrapping is a very good move, which will assist the state in the cost of governance. It will assist the governor to use the money on other areas, to cut wastage.

“Our politicians are so much after positions because of what they will earn, without contributing anything to uplift the standard of living of the people. Though not all are like that but a lot of them, because I have very close relationship with some of them in Ogun State.”

He noted that the rural development ministries ought to be a ministry that will be efficient, effective and should focus more on rural areas and treat the issue of access roads, electricity, healthcare and other social amenities as pressing issues to uplift the standard of people at the grassroots.

Also supporting the scrapping, Chairman of Oke-Abiye Community Development Area (CDA), Mr. Tunde Ayinla said the ministry was merged because it was not performing.

He noted that before the scrapping what the ministry was doing was just monitoring of CDAs, whereas the ministry of Local government and chieftaincy affairs is limited to employment of council officials, ”but now that they’ve been merged, they’ll perform wonderfully. You need to check the ministerial responsibility of the ministry and you’ll see that Ambode has taken a good decision.

“For us, the CDAs, Community Development Advisory Committee and Community Development Committees (CDC), it is a laudable step towards the development of rural areas in the state. Now, the governor would be visiting the communities himself and know their needs, which wasn’t the case before.”

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