Ola Ajayi – Ibadan
The peace that residents of Oyo State have been enjoying since assumption of office of Governor Seyi Makinde may be ruptured as both members of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and All Progressives Congress (APC) are claiming the control of the local government areas and Local Council Development Areas in the state.
The fresh crisis was ignited by a letter from the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Justice Abubakar Malami directing the Inspector General of Police, Muhammed Adamu to ensure compliance with a Supreme Court judgment asking the state governor, Engr Seyi Makinde to dissolve the caretaker chairmen in the councils.
Governor Makinde had sacked the local government executive put in place by the past administration and appointed caretaker chairmen to fill their vacancies.
Acting on the instruction by the AGF, Prince Abass Aleshinloye, ALGON Chairman, Oyo State, in a statement, said, “the democratically elected chairmen and councillors of local government and council areas will return peacefully to their duty posts to perform our constitutional duties to the grassroots in obedience to the electoral mandate of the people of Oyo state.”
“This is legitimate after the Attorney General of the Federation, Mr Abubakar Malami, has again called the attention of Oyo State Government and the Inspector General of Police to the subsisting Supreme Court judgment reinforcing Section 7 (1) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and pronounced as illegal and unconstitutional the dissolution of elected local council administration by state governors or state assemblies in Nigeria with no court order to back it up.”
“Indeed, there could not have been any court order in view of the extant locus cladsicus decision of the Supreme Court in GOV, EKITI STATE V OLUBUNMO which settled the issues with finality.
“The Supreme Court is a court of with national jurisdiction, which also reinforced the Oyo State High Court’s earlier issued perpetual injunction against the Oyo state government forbidding dissolution of elected local government administration.
“As a peace-loving organisation of responsible people and local government administrators, ALGON has taken the path of law to reclaim our mandate freely given by our people at the grassroots before achieving the well-deserved victory after long-drawn legal and political battles to defend democracy and the rule of law.”
But, responding, the Special Adviser to Governor Seyi Makinde on Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters, Prince Yemi Aderibigbe, said ALGON no longer exists in the state.
“As far as we are concerned, there is no ALGON in Oyo state, ALGON ceased to exist with the last government, we don’t have any interface and we believe we are doing something that will be of benefit to the people and not something inimical.”
“You cannot compare what happened here to Ekiti, the conduct of election into the LCDAs made that election illegal and the state government is just trying to exercise its duty in respect of the formation of the new caretaker committee in Oyo state.”
“IGP cannot claim to be a court, he is not the Chief law officer and he is not a judge. In as much as the case in question is still in court, nobody has the power to exercise enforcement on a matter that is still in court, both the High Court and the Court of Appeal. The IG has no power to issue such a directive and we cannot build on illegality, I believe it is a joke taken too far,” he noted.