The Bayelsa State Deputy Governor, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, has urged Local Government Councilors to shun selfish acts that could destroy their political career, pride and honour in society.
The Deputy Governor, who made the call on Friday at a meeting with all councilors from the eight local government areas in Yenagoa, condemned their recent protest against government over car allowance and other welfare issues.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the advice followed a recent protest to the Government House, Yenagoa by the local government legislators for better conditions of service.
Ewhrudjakpo said as legislators at the third tier of government, much was expected of them in terms of how they went about handling their grievances and core mandate of lawmaking, oversight and representation.
Describing the councilors as the image of their respective wards, the deputy governor urged them to refrain from any behaviour that could portray the government, which they were part of, in bad light.
He said although the remuneration and welfare of councilors fell under the purview of local governments, the present administration was making efforts to address some of the issues agitating their minds.
According to the Deputy Governor, the Senator Douye Diri-led administration will never pay lip service to workers’ welfare.
Ewhrudjakpo, therefore, assured the councilors that his office was working closely with council chairmen to tackle their legitimate demands within the limits of available resources.
He promised that government would work out modalities for their training, cars and ward projects, explaining that their sitting allowances for last month were delayed for purposes of accountability and transparency.
Ewhrudjakpo also resolved the lingering crisis between the Councilors’ Forum and its Leaders’ counterpart with a directive to councils that had yet to nominate their two representatives to the Councilors’ Forum to do so without any further delay.
He said: “As legislators, demonstration is not part of your core business of law-making, oversight and representation.
“The parameter to judge your performance is how many bye-laws you sponsor and the number of motions you move to better the lots of the people you represent.
“Your performance is not on the basis that you were able to impeach a chairman, or force people to buy you a car or give you money for running cost.
“There are ethics and procedures. Councilors are legislators and not trade unionists.
“Even though you are a labour or Ijaw Youth Council leader, now that you have become a councilor, it will do you a lot of good if you drop your IYC tag and behave like a real councilor.
“This is because what you do at this stage defines the success or failure of your political career.”
The Chairman of Local Government Leaders’ Forum, Mark Woniowei, and his Councilors’ Forum counterpart, Comrade Prince Okenema, spoke on behalf of the Chairmen and Councilors at the session.
They apologised to Governor Diri and Ewhrudjakpo for any embarrassment their protest might have caused the state government.
While pledging loyalty and support to the present administration, they, however, called for the state government’s intervention to address their pressing demands, which include training, car and ward projects as well as upward review of their remuneration.
On his part, Chief Thompson Amule, the Commissioner for Local Government, Chieftaincy and Community Affairs, thanked the deputy governor for the meeting and urged the councilors to always channel their concerns to government through the appropriate means.
NAN reports that the meeting was witnessed by Secretary to State Government, Konbowei Benson; Chief of Staff, Government House, Chief Benson Agadaga; and Chief of Staff, Deputy Governor’s Office, Alex Dumbo.