By Alagie Manneh
Regional governors have responded to UDP spokesman Almami Taal’s comments that their offices are redundant and have nothing to offer except “empty old politics”.
The UDP spokesperson made the comments Tuesday in a wide-ranging interview with The Standard. “It’s ridiculous [the continuous existence of governors’ offices]. Nobody knows what they are doing,” Taal had said.
Responding, URR governor Samba Bah said governors all over the world work to represent their presidents in regions.
“If our positions were not meaningful, I don’t think for over 50 years we would still be here. The posts are relevant and important and it has to be here,” he noted.
Governor Samba said his office has in the past received the UDP executive. “The executive was led by Ousainu Darboe himself yet no one called that empty old politics. We are here for everybody,” he said.
The CRR governor, Sheriff Abba Sanyang said governance and the role of governors are broad, warning that they should not be viewed “myopically”.
“I am the regional administrator here, but coordination is my main activity, including oversight over both local administrators right down to alkalolu. We supervise, monitor and encourage all forms of government programmes,” he explained.
Governor Sanyang said he has nothing but respect for Taal, however, he advised him not to chastise others to advance his own political ambition.
“I think if you have political ambitions one way to propel yourself is by ridiculing other people’s work. I think that’s what this whole thing is about,” West Coast Region Governor Lamin Sanneh said, when adding his voice to the issue.
Addressing allegations that governors in the country have been politicking for Barrow, Mr Sanyang said he hasn’t seen that happen anywhere in the country.
“Governors are fair, and they are civil servants. I think those comments are not fair to governors at all,” he added.
Weighing in on the issue, the permanent secretary at local government ministry, Buba Sanyang defended the work of governors as significant, and went further to give a detailed breakdown of their roles and functions.
“One of their functions is to represent the president and government in those areas. It is also to advise the chairperson of [area] councils across the country but also to monitor and inspect activities of local authorities.”
The PS also said the governors have not been politicking anywhere in the country. “I don’t see them doing any politics. Of course, politics is relative, and can be interpreted anyhow but I think they are not politicking.”