Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
Fresh facts have emerged on why the Governor Seyi Makinde government in Oyo State revoked the land acquired by the immediate past governor of the state, Senator Abiola Ajimobi.
The ex-governor was said to have cornered the Government House used since the colonial days, while acquiring, 23,627sqm equivalent to 48 plots at Agodi Government Reservation Areas (GRAs).
Some top officials that served during the administration of Ajimobi were also said to have had some plots of land allocated to them revoked. They are former Deputy Governor, Otunba Moses Adeyemo; and former Secretary to the State Government, Alhaji Olalekan Alli. Also affected is Mr Adelodun Ajimobi, believed to be the former governor’s younger brother.
One of the revoked plots of land is Block One, Plot one and two, old Mammy Market, Agodi, GRA, Ibadan, which is also said to be close to the Governor’s Lodge. It was registered in the name of a former Governor of Osun State, Chief Bisi Akande on January 18, 2019 with file number 47/47/3771 and Survey number IB.3368.
The allocations to Akande, Adeyemo, Alli and Adelodun, were said to have been revoked based on varying reasons, including violation of Land Use Act, violation of the principle of one-man one-plot, and overriding public interests.
Recalled that on Thursday last week, the state government announced the revocation of some parcels of land within the Agodi Government Reservation Areas (GRA) and Jericho area of Ibadan, the state capital.
Shortly after the revocation order was made public, Ajimobi, headed for the courts seeking an injunction to stop the revocation order. He filed four suits: I/183/2020, I/184/2020, I/185/2020 and I/186/2020 at the state’s High Court on the land that was said to have given to him by the former Aare Musulumi of Yorubaland, Alhaji Arisekola Alao.
Ajimobi is also claiming N15million from the defendants being cost of the action, including the expenses incurred to file each of the cases, and his attorney’s professional fees. The legal counsel to Ajimobi said the former governor has not breached any of the covenant running on the land, that could have warranted the revocation of the land.
However, investigations revealed that among the nine revoked plots of land, Ajimobi was alleged to have personally owned four, one is owned by a company said to be linked to him, while other individuals were credited with ownership of the four others.
The plots credited to Ajimobi as contained in the records at the state’s Land Registry indicate that besides the original plots of land said to have been acquired by the former governor, he was said to have strangely added two more plots – one housing the Protocol Offices of the state and another chalet that served the governors of the state since the pre-independence days.
It was further stated that Ajimobi was credited with Quarters 361, 361(B) and 361(C) (quarters B and C are the two other Government Quarters adjoining 361, with one of them housing protocol officers of government); Quarters 371 and 372, while Plot 138 Magazine Road, Jericho, Ibadan was said to have been allocated to a company linked to him.
Following Ajimobi’s acquisition of Quarter 361 and the adjoining quarters B and C, the landmass now stands at 23, 627 sqm equivalent to 48 plots. The Quarter used to house the governors of the Old Western Region in the colonial days and the pre-independence era as well as the immediate post-independence period, where the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo and Chief Ladoke Akintola ruled the region.
Quarter 361 was originally said to have been acquired by former Governor Rashidi Ladoja when he served as governor. His successor, Adebayo Alao-Akala revoked the land and reallocated the same to Alhaji Abdulazeez Arisekola Alao, the late Ibadan businessman and Islamic leader, who in turn was said to have given out the land as gift to Ajimobi, through a ‘Deed of Gift’ registered in the Land Registry. Government sources indicated that the veracity of the ‘Deed of Gift’ is already being questioned and has become a subject of investigation.
But Ladoja and Ajimobi were said to have ignited rivalry on the ownership of the land immediately the former got discharged and acquitted from the trial over money laundering by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), last year.
Government sources said Quarter 361 is not supposed to be allocated to anyone not only because of the historical value, but also for security reasons.
In a swift reaction, Media Aide to ex-Governor Ajimobi, Mr Bolaji Tunji, said: “The Magazine Road (Jericho) property belongs to the Railway Property Management Company Limited and not the Oyo State Government. Grandex is a tenant in the property.
“The lands donated by Alhaji Abdul-Azeez Arisekola Alao are not allocations from the Oyo State government to Senator Abiola Ajimobi, rather Aare bidded for and purchased when the OYSG offered them for sale and he emerged as the highest and preferred bidder for the two contiguous lands, which he later gave to Senator Abiola Ajimobi by ways of two separate Deeds of Gift duly registered at the Lands Registry and in respect of which all statutory payments on the Deeds were fully paid.”