Chairman, Oshimili South Local Government Area of Delta state, Barr. (Pst) Chuks John Obusom has expressed displeasure over the filthy condition of Asaba, the Delta state capital, lamenting that the problem of waste management in the Asaba metropolis has become a situation that is fast defacing the state capital city and almost turning it into a dingy environment.
This is even as the Oshimili South Chairman assured that his administration has reformed and ensured that only bonafide indigenes and deserving residents of the LGA are granted Identification permit and status.
The council chairman expressed these views as well as give an assessmentio of some of the achievements and challenges of his tenure since he assumed office, when he hosted members of the Indigenous Correspondents Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) who paid him a courtesy call in his office in Asaba.
Obusom said: “I am not pleased with the sanitation situation in Asaba. I feel bitter about the waste management situation of Asaba.”
He recalled how in a bid to tackle the problem an inter ministerial committee involving the local government office of the Secretary to State Government (SSG) and the Waste Management Board, in which the committee among other things screened all the PSPs during which it was discovered that they did not have the facilities to do the job.
The frustration of the council chairman is that the Delta State Waste Management Board insists that it is their sole responsibility to handle waste management.
However and despite the problem of waste management, Hon. Obusom said he would not be the one to assess the performance of his administration, but stressed that he and his team had set goals when they came on board, adding however that he had accomplished some achievements in the last two and half years in the saddle as the helmsman of Oshimili South LGA.
Reeling out some of his achievements, the chairman who assumed office, October 2014 disclosed that his administration had been able to develop a reformed model for the identification of indigenes of the council and sanitized the process which had been infiltrated by some persons from across the Niger.
“We have been able to establish a thorough and a reformed way of identifying Oshimili South indigenes. Before I assumed this office, so many people from across the Niger, you see them flouting identification letters. This has made us not only to lose crucial positions in terms of employment in the state but even outside here, like in the military and other places, as some people have gone there using Oshimili South slot”, Obusom revealed.
He noted that several things actually went wrong in the identification process, “so we reformed that process. I personally signed identification letters and I will screen you, if I need to make calls, I do and of course before you have my identification, you must have established that you are from Oshimili South. I was able to write to the ministries doing the screening. If you don’t have anybody with my own signature don’t honour it”, noting that the move has yielded positive result.
The chairman pointed out that this proactive step has taken care of non-indigenes who masqueraded as indigenes of the council area, “I think that is a reformatory step”, he affirmed.
Hon. Obusom also disclosed that the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of the council which lacked organization when he assumed office, was now properly harnessed.
“We did what is called enumeration, trying to identify our revenue sources and then we discovered also that there is need to have a revenue bye-law as there was no one that was effective then. After that, we set up a system of revenue collection where revenue that being generated is channeled to the banks. There is no physical cash collection, any cash collection is illegal”, he emphasized, stressing that, “we tried to dissuade self-help in revenue collection. When they use taskforce to molest people here and there which to me as a lawyer is unacceptable and we have to make sure that people are tried through due process to ensure that they have been served and we will now use a judicial process to be able to get our revenue”.
Other successes Barr Obusom itemized included; removal of revenue courts from rented apartments across the council which according to him led to the erection of a gigantic revenue court in the council premises.
“I have tried to check and I have never seen a local government council in the 774 LGAs in the country that built a revenue court”, bought a 13KVA transformer to end about three years blackout in the secretariat, make the environment conducive for workers, started poultry farm with 2% allocation which the law requested of the council to set aside for agriculture. We have just finished disposing some of them and we want to start stocking for the Christmas period,” he enthused
The chairman further added that the council was able to partake in the grading of the out-roads with the fixing of the tractors to sand fill some roads that need attention with particular reference to the Oko area in spite of the financial down turn.
“On assumption of office at the time when we had SURE-P, we were able to get farm seedlings; okro, yams for the farmers at the Oko area to boost food production and we were able to construct and commission Ogbogonogo Mini market with over 300 shops (lockup and open shops)”, Obusom said with some satisfaction.
“We also constructed the Ogbeogonogo mini-shops, converted the primary school located inside that space to mini-shops and relocated the school,” Obusom added.
Asked why the council management allowed the indiscriminate siting of filling stations even in residential areas in Asaba, Pastor Obusom exonerated the council saying that the Oshimili South Local Government was not in charge of giving approval for the siting of filling stations.
He was also quick to debunk the allegations that some serving council chairmen including himself have signed a written document with Governor Okowa to be imposed and returned for a second tenure, describing it as untrue and unfounded.
Obusom said: “It is a lie. That is not true to the best of my knowledge. There is no agreement signed with any local government chairman for purposes of imposition. The Governor has said it time and time again that people should go and work in the areas where they seek elective offices and test their popularity. As for being imposed because a document was signed with the governor, that is a complete lie,” he stressed emphatically.
In his opening address, the Chairman of the Indigenous Correspondents Chapel, ICC, Comrade Bartholomew Ozah commended the counl chairman over his leadership ingenuity which he brought to bear in the administration in the council.
Comrade Ozah urged him to always engage the community media who are in the better place to enlighten the populace on the programmes and policies, “especially, regarding the successes you have recorded as well as your views on critical issues”.