By Yinusa Ishola
Ado-Ekiti, Oct. 22, Gov. Biodun Oyebanji of Ekiti says the state’s 2023 budget will give consideration to promoting adequate security, power and good road network.
Oyebanji made the promise in Ikole, Ekiti South Senatorial District, during a citizens’ engagement meeting with delegates from the three senatorial districts of the state.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the meeting also took the governor to Ode in Ekiti North Senatorial District as well as Ado-Ekiti in Central Senatorial District.
Oyebanji said the recently launched 30-year-development plan of the state would be his working document to achieve all-round development.
He said the town hall meetings had become an “annual ritual’’ since the first administration of former Gov. Kayode Fayemi, to ensure community participation in budget preparation.
Oyebanji said his administration was irrevocably committed to participatory and all-inclusive government and budgeting.
According to him, the purpose of the meeting was to interact with the representatives of various towns and communities to articulate their needs for inclusion in the 2023 budget.
The governor noted that the requests of all the communities were similar, and assured that his administration would address their concerns about insecurity.
He also challenged the people on the need to assist security agencies in intelligence gathering by coming up with relevant information on suspicious movements or activities to enable the agencies to track down people with criminal tendencies.
“We should all be vigilant about what happens in our society.
“I agree we should step up our action on `Amotekun’ (the southwest regional security outfit) and strengthen it, but `Amotekun’ without intelligence is zero,’’ he said.
Oyebanji assured also that the various concerns of the people including electricity supply, potable water, rehabilitation of roads, and renovation of school buildings would be looked into.
He said his administration was already making efforts with relevant authorities to ensure that electricity supply is restored in areas that had been without power supply for years.
The governor said the administration would establish an Ombudsman office where people can supply government with useful information that would guide it in its decision-making process.
This, he said, was part of the efforts towards strengthening feedback mechanism from the people.
Oyebanji appealed for support to enable him to achieve the lofty goals.
“As a responsible government, we are of the firm belief that citizens’ participation in budgeting process enables ownership and efficient service delivery.
“It also gives meaning to the popular definition of democracy by Abraham Lincoln who described democracy as `government of the people, by the people and for the people’.
For us, we want to govern with the people and not for them.
“You will always be part of our decision-making and your voice will always be heard.
“This meeting is not only a personal commitment to participatory budgeting; it is also in conformity with the global best practices in budgeting.
“It is also one of the indicatory mileages of accountability requirements of the tripartite programme called: State Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability (SFTAS) programme.
“Our annual budget preparation process shall be bottom-up, whereby the needs and interests of the people shall be articulated.
“The involvement of the citizens in budget preparation is geared towards effective utilisation of public funds based on the needs of the people,’’ he stressed.
The representatives of the communities comprising the traditional rulers and community leaders, after presenting their various demands, also commended the governor for sustaining the citizens’ engagement programme aimed at effective budgeting.