The chairman of Umuahia South Local Government Area, Hon. Kelechi Aguiyi has posited that local government is an avenue for getting the dividend of democracy closer to the people. He made the disclosure during the Senate Committee on Local workshop held in Abuja. Excerpts:
Local Government Administration is the bedrock of any developing country. So many things have been said about this topic. What do you have to say about this summit?
It is very encouraging; actually it has opened another avenue of planning now. What it means is that they are trying to let us understand the importance of the establishment of a third tier of government. It is all about getting to the people because they are close to the people.
Local government is another avenue of getting the dividends of democracy closer to the people. It is a very good platform for us to improve our services.
How have you been able to cope with internally generated revenue in your local government area?
You know, for every achievement or every success God has been the bedrock, for me, by his grace I have been doing whatever I am doing.
I came on board and thought I will start a thing that will help me to increase the internally generated revenue (IGR) that I will be able to achieve – a set target. I have a goal, by the grace of God if there is any award that will be given, I will be one of the persons that will be called for the award because the records are there; the achievement are there, so I decided to do it for the people so that at the end my work will speak for me; not me to speak for myself.
By the grace of God if they will show the resume of our work or whatever, you will be happy that I put everything I have gotten from the local government back to the people and they are happy.
They are begging me to continue but I say no, I don’t repeat a class. I have done my own part, by the grace of God I will move for the purpose for which I am here. God has given me the grace and enabled me to achieve it.
What do you think the people will be expecting from the incoming administration in your local government area.
I can’t go into what the new government could do because they have their own plan, but I believe he should continue from … You know government is not something that has no a break – you come and increase or improve on the already established plan.
You need to do more to make a difference. I know he has the penchant for … I wish him the best so that he can do more.
Government is all about after this person, the next person. So Ikpeazu was here before, he did well; all his development strides in the state.
So I am expecting the next person to go beyond where he stopped. I can’t say he should go down, he should go beyond.
There is a strategy he has to adopt to go beyond this government. But I know the governor has a big shoe. The good roads and other things he has been doing that he has achieved.
It is a big task for the incoming governor to improve on and go beyond it.
Sir, finally by the time you exit office, what will be the legacy that will be very difficult for somebody to even watch?
If I go out I don’t know if any other person will go beyond, why, because the strategy, the grace and … One, before you achieve success avoid the spirit of greed. If you can go beyond greed or self; then, you can go beyond me. But if you are coming as chairman that you want to acquire wealth you can’t achieve it.
I have a school, I have a hotel, I built a school for the people, dug boreholes. The light has been there. I pay school fees for more than 120 people for WAEC. I did the same thing for JAMB. For health care, as I am talking to you now, I have free medical care that is going on now, in partnership with NLC.
So I have a lot of things and under my tenure salary wasn’t the issue. I pay as at when due. As I am talking to you I have paid for the month of April so I am looking for the month of May.
So it is a record that is verifiable. It is not something I am saying to praise myself. It is something anyone I mention, you go and check it.
So that is why the people are begging me to see if I can go a second time but I said no, I don’t repeat a class, because I only encourage the new person to take my advice. I will advise him where necessary. By his grace I have satisfied my conscience. I will do more on a greater assignment but for local government, to repeat class again – I will not.