By Abiodun Lawal
Abeokuta, Nov. 3, 2020 Mr Afolabi Afuape, the Ogun Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, on Tuesday listed the COVID-19 pandemic and the recent #EndSARS protest as contributory reasons for the delay in conducting council elections in the state.
Afuape disclosed this while speaking to newsmen after the foundation-laying ceremony of a Primary Health Centre in Oke Egunya, Agooba area, being constructed by Abeokuta South Local Government.
The commissioner said that year 2020 had witnessed series of issues which had really affected some government programmes and activities.
He said that in the next few weeks, the state government would constitute the Ogun State Independent Electoral Commission (OGSIEC) in order to commence the process for the Local Government (LG) elections.
“Year 2020 has been of crisis, from COVID-19 to #EndSARS protest. We came in as commissioners in January and the pandemic started in February or March.
“If we inaugurate OGSIEC today, it won’t take six months to conduct elections with three months to settle down and others; funding is another critical issue that should be looked into .
“We want to have LG election, we don’t want to write the House of Assembly every three months for extension of LG transition committee members. OGSIEC should be set up in the next few weeks, “Afuape said.
The commissioner commended the Chairman of Abeokuta South Local Government for bringing the construction of the Primary Health Centre closer to the people of Oke Egunya.
Afuape said that the health centre, when completed, would go a long way in meeting the immediate health challenges of the people.
In her goodwill message, Dr Tomi Coker, the Commissioner for Health, disclosed that the present government led by Gov. Dapo Abiodun had rehabilitated over 236 primary health centres across the state.
Coker promised that the health centres currently being constructed by the local government, when completed, would be fully equipped with modern health facilities by the state government.
The Chairman of the council, Mr Ayodeji Shomide, in his address, promised that the project would be completed within three months.
Shomide appealed to the Commissioner for Health to assist in equipping the health centre with state-of-the-art facilities for the benefit of the masses when completed.
“We have five health centres in the local government and we discovered that they cannot meet the healthcare needs of our populace, especially in this period of COVID -19 pandemic and other diseases.
“That is why we felt the health facility should be constructed closer to the people, so that they do not need to travel far to access healthcare services,” the council chairman said.