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Impeachment saga rocks Lagos council

Lawmakers accuse council boss of embezzlement, nepotism
As chairman, council secretary flee from office
Councillors are selfish bunch — Chairman

BY MONSURU OLOWOOPEJO

AS the general elections draw close, Lagos state has started witnessing some developments which were hitherto considered alien to the Centre of  Excellence
The state controlled by the All Progressives Congress, APC, does not pretend over its exercising firm grip over its 20 Local Government Areas and 37 Local Council Development Areas.

To a large extent, the 57 Councils run fairly smoothly with good rapport between the Chairmen and the Councillors.
But for Ikosi-Isheri Local Council Development Area, LCDA, the harmonious relationship within that tier of government ceased recently.
In fact, there is bad blood between the legislators, executive arm of government and some residents over the management of the council. And it has crippled activities at the council secretariat.

Crippled activities

Entrance to the Ikosi-Isheri LCDA
Entrance to the Ikosi-Isheri LCDA

When Vanguard visited the council secretariat along Ikosi road last week, the council chairman and the Secretary to the Local Government, SLG have since abandoned their offices at the council secretariat. And both offices were under lock and key.

While the council chairman, Mr. Abdulfatai Oyesanya, now administer the activities of the council from his home, SLG, Mr. Shola Odubero  could not be located.
This, sources said was sequel to the move by the lawmakers to impeach the council chairman which commenced on August 19th, and backed by series of protest from the residents, over allegation of high handedness.

The seven legislatures led by the speaker, Mr. Owolabi Taiwo alleged that  Oyesanya began to mismanage the council funds immediately after assuming office in 2011,  They also accused the council chairman of nepotism.

Previous impeachment moves
Vanguard gathered this was the third impeachment move on the council boss. The first was in May 4th, 2012 but was halted by some party leaders who waded into the crisis. And the plan was shelved, before the second in June 2013.

A civil servant in the council, who pleaded anonymity, said that the impeachment would have been completed but suffered setbacks because  Odubiro has abandoned his office in order not to transit the impeachment letter from the Clerk to the Chairman, which is the first stage of the impeachment process.

The reason for the impeachment  move– Speaker
Taiwo, the speaker in an interview with Vanguard, said; “This year, the council chairman bought two 40-feet container at N12 million. The chairman also spent over N33 million to purchase vehicles for himself immediately he assumed office. The vehicles were N11.9 million Prado SUV, two Kia SUVs for N13 million for his wife and father-in-law, Toyota bus worth N5.6 million and another bus for N2.7 million.

“The Internally Generated Revenue, IGR of council has depreciated due to the ongoing embezzlement in the council. The revenue generated within the council is not remitted into its purse rather it goes into personal account,” he added.
The lawmaker said the “Lagos State House of Assembly  committee on Local Government matters during their visit last year to the council confirmed all these.”

According to him, “Previously, we had 16 revenue collectors but today, we have 53 and the fund is not reflecting in the council purse. Rather than the IGR to increase, it was depreciating. And we called Special Adviser to the council chairman on revenue collection; Mr. Sikiru Alabi popularly called Elegusi, who said he was still test running the process of revenue collection. And the alarming thing was that taxes and levies were collected from the residents and such money is not remitted.

“In spite of the huge revenue, this administration has not constructed any road since inception. And other projects the present administration embarked on have been abandoned. And one of them is the council administrative block.”

Worried by these, Taiwo said; “During the presentation of the supplementary budget, we demanded that the council must construct one road in each of the wards. We believe election is fast approaching and this is a quick way for the citizens to feel the impact of the government.

On the accusation of nepotism, the lawmaker lamented; “We summon the contractor handling the construction of the council administrative block, Messer Allah Yah-Afisu NIG. Ltd, 12, Adedoyin street, Palm groove, but to our surprise, the company does not exist. And Agums Global Resources, 112 Aladelola, Ikosi-Isheri, the address was the resident of one of his aide, Mr. Ajibola Michael.

Accusation of disruption of public  peace by the Chairman
Taiwo said “One can visit the Mile 12 market the perishable section led by one Alh. Haruna Muhammed, to confirm this.  He has made several attempts to remove the leader of the market. And the moves have constantly caused mayhem. These  once led to the deployment of over 200 armed mobile policemen to the market to restore law and order simply because he wanted to impose a leader of his choice on the traders.”

Also the speaker said; “Oyesanya is using his office to terrorize the residents of the council. We have seven councillors and they are saying the same thing. None of the Supervisory councillors has authority to say what is happening in the council. When the councillors summon the supervisory councillors to get further clarification on issues, all they say is that the council chairman has accurate knowledge of what is happening in the sector. The chairman does everything alone.

Residents protest, back impeachment move: Since the move to impeach the council chairman commenced, the lawmakers have gained more support as residents have embarked on series of protests to support the move. Last week, men and women, who claimed to be members of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, protested to the council secretariat to support the removal of the council chairman. They also warned the lawmakers not to shelve the move, as they did in the past.

One of the protesters, Mr. Sulaimon Olabiyi, alleged that some of the party leaders have started moves to scuttle the impeachment, noting; “The impeachment move must continue.”

The lawmakers are self-centred  – Council boss
Speaking to Vanguard in an interview at his residence, Oyesanya described the councillors as a self-centred bunch, saying; “They are only concerned about sharing the council funds rather than executing projects that would develop the council.”

The council chairman further argued that the council had constructed more roads and concluded several empowerment programmes than the previous administration.
Oyesanya said  his administration has concluded several empowerment programmes for the unemployed youths and has assisted the aged in the council.

He said “While other councils have stopped paying their lawmakers sitting allowance, Ikosi-Isheri LCDA was still paying its councillors”, adding that the seven councillors receive over N700, 000 monthly as their sitting allowance.

Assembly orders parties to maintain status quo
The state House of Assembly has directed the council chairman and the councillors to  maintain the status quo pending the recommendation of the House on the matter.
This was contained in a circular issued with reference No: LSHA/LM/C/23/VOL/.III/580, on August 21st, 2014, titled: Re: Notification of impeachment of Engineer Abdulfatai Ayodele Oyesanya.


Disclaimer

Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.