The Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON), Oyo State Chapter has described the proposed appointment of Caretaker Chairmen for the local governments in the state by Governor Seyi Makinde as an act of illegality, executive rascality, an affront to the judiciary and rule of law.
Its chairman, Prince Ayodeji Abass-Aleshinloye, who spoke on behalf of other chairmen at a news conference held at ALGON Secretariat in Ibadan, said the governor’s plan will break the peace and return the state to the old days of “pankere lawless politics of thuggery where might is right will be resisted by all democratic and peaceful means.”
The chairmen stated that since the announcement of the dissolution of the democratically elected local governments and local council development areas on May 29, the state has been thrown into a series of lawlessness and impunity which has adversely affected development and democratic running of local administration, adding that “our people at the grassroots daily bear the pains of this lawlessness while the governor fiddles with his team unconcerned with the crisis of governance at the most important level of governance.
“When an act of illegality is committed by an obstinate government, other acts of illegality will be committed in a desperate attempt to cover the initial act of illegality. This is the logic of engagement the Oyo State government under His Excellency, Engr. Seyi Makinde has adopted in its self-imposed crisis of illegal dissolution of local government in the state since May 29th, 2019 when this administration came on board.
“Our immediate and sustained response to this act of illegality by the administration was to follow the path of legality and rule of law to remind the government of the serious threat to democracy its dangerous approach to governance and flagrant disobedience of court order meant to disrupt sustained peace and development in the state.
“We reminded the government through an official letter to his office and many public statements including a world press conference, calling the governor’s attention to his violation of a subsisting court injunction against dissolution of local government in the state 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. This dissolution was also a clear breach of Section 7(1) of the 1999 Constitution as amended which states that:
“The system of local government by democratically elected local government councils is under this constitution guaranteed” Supreme Court has also ruled against dissolution of elected local government councils (by the Governors) in similar cases in Ekiti and other states,” Abass-Aleshinloye said.
He said Makinde will be making history as the first governor to breach the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) guideline with the move, noting that the elected chairmen and councilors as members of ALGON in the state have been seeking all constitutional and peaceful means to correct “this illegal act of state governor.”
“But it is now very clear that the government has decided, out of its own volition, to be deaf and dumb to all voices of reason and wisdom in its flagrant disobedience of court order and it is in an hurry to push Oyo State into a state of anomie, a lawless state where the rule of men not rule of law reigns.
“Despite the fact that the state government has filed an appeal against the high court judgment perpetually restraining it from dissolving the elected council government, Oyo State Governor has again publicly disclosed his plan to constitute “very soon” caretaker committees in all the 33 councils and sole administrators in the 35 local council development areas which is an illegality to perpetrate,” Abass-Aleshinloye added.
The chairmen warned that any attempt by the governor to impose caretaker committees on the councils when the appeal the state government filed is yet to be heard and while a perpetual restraining order against dissolution of elected council administration is still subsisting, will be considered as the final push that will exhaust their patience.
“We will be very ready to defend our mandates popularly given by the people who elected us into position of responsibility. You do not sit on a chair that is not vacant except court clears the seat for you or you take the seat by force, a recipe for violence and lawlessness.
“ALGON has resolved at our last meeting that in the event of an invasion of the council secretariats by the ‘SEYI MAKINDE FORCES OF OCCUPATION’, we will be more than ready to defend the councils and the sanctity of the peoples’ mandate freely given to us.
“All elected local government chairmen and councilors are hereby put on notice and be at alert anytime the governor makes his final push. Where tradition is lacking, a striking example is very necessary. Action and Reaction are equal and opposite,” ALGON stated.
Abass-Aleshinloye appealed to the good people of the state to prevail on the governor not to push the state into violence, saying “he should tow the path of honour and respect the rule of law which he sworn to uphold.”
Meanwhile, members of the body from all the local governments and local council development areas in the state have passed a vote of confidence on the Abass-Aleshinloye-led executives’ of the body.
The members after their congress on Thursday said they are satisfied with the strength, qualities and proper briefings they receive from the executives in line with the mandate given to them.
The congress passed the following resolutions;
“Confirm that ALGON Exco members led by a chairman(Prince Ayodeji Abass-Alesinloye) have been acting on the directives and mandate of all members of ALGON-Oyo and that they have never acted in isolation as being concocted by some politicians who do not have the second identity
“Pass vote of confidence on all ALGON Exco members led by the chairman (Prince Ayodeji Abass-Aleshinloye) for excellent delivery of mandate given to them thus far AND
“Reiterate the earlier directive that ALGON Exco led by the Chairman (Prince Ayodeji Abass-Aleshinloye) should continue to protect our mandate and brief us accordingly as usual.”