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Checking underutilization of LG workers

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THE new 9th edition of Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary defines “talent” as a natural ability to do something well; people or persons with natural ability to do something well. In our context, talent is predicative of human beings and the “good” qualities they are known for.

Talented people can be identified in all works of life. This sort of people abound in the government at the grass-roots which has its sole aim as bringing democracy dividends closer to the masses, especially at the hinterland. However, it is observed that these highly talented personalities are more often than not relegated to the background due to the vices of nepotism, favoritism, bribery and corruption.

At the third tier of government which is the local government, we have a lot of staff who are gurus in Mass Communication/Journalism, Accountancy, Public Administration, Medicine, Pharmacy, Midwifery, Business Administration, different aspects of Engineering, even Professional artisans like drivers, builders, carpenters and so on.

It is heart breaking that due to no justified reason, these talented men and women are often under-employed by giving them take-home payment that is not commensurate with the jobs they are employed to do. Hence, they are forced by circumstances to seek for alternative means of livelihood at the mercy of their scheduled duties in their various offices just to make ends meet. Most of these alternative duties are infra dignitatem to the class of people that perform them.

Moreover, poor administration contributes its own quota towards under-utilization of talented personnel. Most of these lords who, per chance, see themselves as elected or appointed chairmen of local governments derive pleasure from denying these talents the very opportunity of developing their skills through personal experience on their schedule of duties in their offices.

Some of them have stated categorically that they have come to make money for themselves and that anyone who stands on their way risks being eliminated. With this mindset, they feel they can do everything by themselves for the sole aim of pocketing even the meager resources accruable to the professionals who should do the jobs.

It has been also sadly observed that man-power training is gradually being jettisoned for no just cause, thus depriving talented staff of the opportunity to grow in their respective disciplines.

Sadly enough, most of these politicians, once appointed or elected as the case may be, carry into government offices their friends, relations, brothers, sisters and in-laws as public relation officers, office clerks, who handle important and fragile mails, official drivers, engineers and other classes of staff. Only God knows how they generate the income to settle them.

However, one fact is glaring; these amateur classes of workers displace trained and statutory staff and usurp their duties in the offices. The side effect of this singular anomaly is that the act of record keeping suffers and more often than not, very important mails and documents are either misplaced or even lost and on the long run, after the expiration of the tenure of these opportunists, innocent staff may be suspected or even punished for the loss.

The menace of contractors who perform the duties of career staff cannot be over-emphasised. Often, an argument is raised in favour of use of contractors, especially in revenue collection. Time has proven that most of these contractors are not even angels as career officers are accused of collecting money for their personal aggrandizement. Most contractors are even worse.

Worse still, most of revenue windows formerly controlled by the local government system have turned round to be controlled by state agencies and ministries. The third tier needs to be left with tangible means of survival and sustenance so that it can be useful to the rural dwellers who form more than 70 percent of the population of the state. I make bold to state that talented people are available for the work.

As a solution to these afore-mentioned problems and others not enumerated in this brief script, I humbly suggest that men and women of proven integrity should be appointed or elected to man the proceedings in the local government system. The management of the local governments should be constitutionally backed to fight leviathans who snatch whatever they can grab within their two-year tenure at all cost.

Again, local government staff should be holistically empowered to discharge their duties and disciplinary measures meted to corrupt officers as a deterrent to others who may wish to tow the wrong route.

Most importantly, publicity should be given the stool of necessity at the local government level for proper and positive image building. If these facts are adhered to, then talented staff would have a sense of belonging and would be ready to render their best for the betterment of themselves, government at the grassroots and indeed the society at large.

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