First Speech of the Military Governor of the Mid-West (Lt-Colonel Ejoor), 26 January 1966


Lt-Colonel David Ejoor

Lt-Colonel David Ejoor

I have now had time to examine the various administrative agencies operating under the previous Government, both at headquarter level and at the level of Local Government Councils. I have also looked into the machinery for the administration of Boards and Corporations in Midwestern Nigeria. I now record the following observations and Decree as hereunder:

I decree that here, in Midwestern Nigeria, there shall be an Executive Committee presided over by myself, as Military Governor.  Subject to, and under the Supreme Council, this Committee constitutes the final authority and power in respect of decisions affecting Midwestern Nigeria. In addition to myself as its President, the composition of this Committee will be as follows: The Chief Law Officer, The Second Senior Military Officer in station, Secretary to the Military Government, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Economic Development, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Establishments, and the Commissioner of Police.

Additionally, the Permanent Secretary whose submissions are at any particular meeting being discussed will, for the purpose of that discussion, be coopted as member of the Committee. I further decree: that the decisions of the Public Service Commission will now be in the form of recommendations to me. I propose, however, to delegate to the Commission power to take final decisions in respect of certain categories of appointments.

I further decree that the following powers shall be vested in a Recruitment Committee: The power to appoint (including appointment on promotion, transfer or secondment) to any post whether established or unestablished the initial basic salary of which is less than f240 per annum.

The power to appoint (including appointment on promotion or transfer) daily-rated employees. The power to confirm or terminate the probationary appointment of any officer whose initial basic salary is less that f240.

I also decree: that all recruitments shall be initiated by means of open advertisement which, in the case of recruitments by the Recruitment Committee shall issue from the Ministry of Establishments, on behalf of all Ministries/Departments.

I further decree that: the Midwestern Nigeria London Office will be closed, and the responsibilities and duties it now carries will be taken over by the Nigerian High Commission. Immediate steps will be taken to wind up the Agency-General.

In place of elected members, all local government councils in the Region have Management Committees. These comprise persons selected because of their political affiliation. I am convinced that this arrangement is not in the best interest of the development of local government in the Region. Little wonder that a majority of these councils are either impotent or grossly inefficient.

I decree that all Management Committees of Local Government Councils will be abolished with immediate effect. In place of these, Administrative Officers of experience will be selected and be posted as Sole Administrators.

(The Local Authorities) comprise Local Education Authorities, Joint Water Boards, Land Trustees, and Town Planning Authorities (and each) has a body of officials who operate the organization with expert advice from the appropriate ministries. Over and above these officials, there is in each case an appendage of politicians, who have converted the function of determining the political implication of the organization’s actions into a full time job.

I now decree that all these groups of politicians in these Institutions be suspended. The officials of the Institutions, with supporting advice and guidance from the appropriate ministries, will carry on the work of the Institutions.

I am not satisfied that political affiliation is a fair yard-stick for the composition of Tax Assessment Committees. The existing Committees have been got together on that basis. A machinery for fiscal purposes cannot function efficiently with such composition.

I hereby suspend all existing Assessment Committees. In due course a Tax Assessment Machinery able to generate confidence and to alert all and sundry to their responsibility to pay tax will be set up.

I further decree: that all Chairmen, Executive Directors and Members of all Boards and Corporations will henceforth cease to have any day to day functions in respect of these organizations. Instead, they will meet not more that once monthly to deliberate on the basis of agenda presented to them by the General-Manager or Secretary of these organizations, after clearance with the Permanent Secretary of the relevant Ministry.

Accordingly, all Chairmen, Executive Directors and Directors cease with immediate effect to be entitled to salaries, but will be eligible for sitting fees and expenses in respect of transport to place of meetings. That each Corporation, Board of Commission shall operate under the detailed guidance of the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry under whose aegis such Corporation, Board or Commission functions. For the purpose I propose to inject officials and experts in business into each organization to assist so as to enhance its performance.

I further decree: that all political functionaries suspended will now be checked out of Government quarters, if this has not already been done. All government properties in those quarters shall be taken on charge by the Ministry of Works.

I decree also: that only the National Flag may be flown on public buildings in Midwestern Nigeria. No flags of any description may be flown on private buildings, premises or cars, excepting that the Commissioner of Police may fly the Police Flag on his official car. The only vehicle that may fly the National Flag is the Military Governor’s Car.

For the avoidance of doubt I want to make it clear that the above decrees do not relate to the Regional Tax Board, the Board of Education, and the Scholarship Board. I propose at a later date to deal with these.

At a later date I will issue an appropriate decree concerning Customary Courts.

All debtors to the Midwest Government and its agencies are advised to maintain their repayment agreements. Any defaulters will have themselves to blame.

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