Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON), Oyo State, has rejected the dissolution of democratically elected local government chairmen and vowed that the chairmen would not vacate their offices.
ALGON Chairman, Ayodeji Abass–Aleshiloye, stated this yesterday when he addressed a press conference at the Press Centre, Iyaganku, Ibadan.
Governor Seyi Makinde had announced the sack of the chairmen of 33 local governments and 35 local council development areas via a special service announcement, signed by his Chief of Staff, Bisi Ilaka.
All the chairmen were elected on the platform of All Progressives Congress (APC) during the local government election conducted on May 12, 2018 by the APC-led administration of former governor Abiola Ajimobi. The new governor is a member of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Abass-Aleshinloye said the chairmen would continue to resume to their various offices and continue acting in their capacities as democratically elected chairmen by their constituents. He said they are armed with court injunction that legalises their election as council chairmen.
“We, the democratically elected local government chairmen under the umbrella of ALGON Oyo State, reject this unconstitutional act of Mr. Governor. It is illegal, undemocratic, violation of rule of law and a contempt of a subsisting court injunction against any dissolution of the local government as ordered by Justice A. A. Aderemi of High Court 2, Ibadan, Oyo State, on May 6, 2019.
“The Enrolment of Order was contained in the Suit NO: 1/347/2019. There were recent Supreme Court judgments against such act of illegality by governors.
“Since this purported dissolution was done in flagrant disobedience of a subsisting court order, and a crude breach of the right of our people to be democratically governed at local government level as the third tier of government, as copiously stated in Section 7(1) of the 1999 Constitution as amended: ‘The system of local government by democratically elected local government councils is under this constitution guaranteed..’ we shall seek all democratic, constitutional and peaceful means to correct this illegal act of the state government.
“Under no law can a state governor make a declaration, proclamation or directive to summarily dissolve elected local government council or any elected organ of governance created by the constitution.”
Abass-Aleshiloye flayed the sacking of elected local government chairmen in a democracy as “a familiar jackboot statement of the military era,” saying it “is no doubt a sad throwback to that better forgotten years of military dictatorship. This is unexpected and quite unfortunate in a democracy. The statement came out less than 12 hours after Governor Makinde was sworn–in.”
He appealed to all the duly elected chairmen of local government and local council development areas, councillors and citizens in the respective councils to remain calm and be peaceful in the face of “this provocation and assault on constitutional democracy.
“In this regards, we request the Commissioner of Police, Director of State Security (DSS) and other security to be at alert and provide full security to all chairmen and council secretariats as a pre-emptive step to forestall any possible attack, vandalism and any threat to peace in our dear pacesetter state, the peace and security Oyo State has enjoyed in the past eight years.”
In the same vein, some residents reacted to the sacking of the chairmen and dissolution of their respective cabinets by the state government.
They said the directive was in order and that the aggrieved chairmen and councillors could seek redress in court if they feel offended.
A former House of Assembly member, Adetunji Adekunle, said the election that ushered in the dissolved council chairmen was illegal and conducted against a court order.
“When you build on illegality, that is what you get. I’m certain that the action of the governor is in order and if the sacked chairmen believe they have a case, they can approach the court,” he said.
Also, a civil servant hailed decision of the governor, expressing optimism that it was in the best interests of the state.
However, a council worker faulted the decision, saying it was against democratic rules and appear suspicious.
“Why is the governor in a hurry to dissolve a legally constituted institution, why did he want to start his administration on a controversial note?” he queried.
Meanwhile, former governor and Osi Olubadan of Ibadanland, Rashidi Ladoja, has said he did not have any issue with the new governor of the state, Makinde, who he supported to become governor.
He spoke against the backdrop of insinuation that his absence during the inauguration on Wednesday signalled a possible fight.
In a statement by his media aide, Lanre Latinwo, yesterday, Ladoja said he could not attend the inauguration because it coincided with the fifth remembrance of the death of his son, Debola Ladoja, who died on May 29, 2014.
Ladoja led the coalition of African Democratic Congress (ADC), Zenith Labour Party (ZLP), Social Democratic Party (SDP) and a percentage of Action Democratic Party (ADP) as well as People’s Democratic Party(PDP) that produced the governor.
“The death of 31 years old Debola, Ladoja’s son, exactly five years on May 29, 2019, was responsible for the absence of Senator Ladoja at yesterday’s (Wednesday) swearing in ceremony of Makinde.
“The former governor kept the reason to himself in order not to dampen the high spirit of the people around him. This fact was also hidden from the governor himself out of respect for the occasion and what it meant to the people of the state, when he visited Ladoja where he stayed up till the time of breaking of the day’s fast,” Latinwo said.