The Association of Local Governments (ALGON) in Oyo State has accused Governor Seyi Makinde of plans to inaugurate caretaker committees for the 33 local governments and 35 Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) in breach of a subsisting judgment which restrained it.
In a statement issued on Sunday by its chairman, Prince Ayodeji Abass-Aleshinloye, ALGON described the plan as “a panicky step to prempt the possibility of losing its appeal against the high court judgement perpetually restraining it from dissolving the local government”. It added that the move was tantamount to “executive rascality, an affront on the Judiciary and the rule of law by the new administration that is desperate to return Oyo State to the old way of lawlessness and ‘pankere’ politics of settling constitutional matters by political thuggery.”
But in a reaction, Makinde, through his Chief Press Secretary, Taiwo Adisa, dismissed the allegation saying “it is a funny allegation that is aimed at keeping their name in the news.”
Accordng to ALGON, “this is impunity and a resort to self help which would not be tolerated. It will be recalled that our case of contempt of court against the government was adjourned to July 30th,2019 by Justice Ladiran Akintola of High Court 9, Ibadan with his Lordship’s order that the parties to maintain the status quo ante. It is a grave development to find that while other states are moving on to developmental politics and agenda for their people,our own state government in Oyo continue to retrogress into illegality, recklessness and lawlessness,yet it is a government that was sworn in to defend the constitution it now tramples upon with impunity.”
The group called the attention of the National Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) to take note of the new development given the current condition that only elected local government chairmen can access local government funds.
It said: “As a result of this, we are drawing the attention of Federal Government and Oyo State government to the NFIU directive which restricts the beneficiary of the monthly allocation to only the democratically elected chairmen and not the caretaker arrangement already declared by the Supreme Court and the Oyo state high court as illegal and which is not constitutionally recognised. Any attempt to constitute caretaker committee, interim chairmen, sole administrators/ managers or any such illegal contraption will be tantamount to a breach of the constitution, the rule of law and an illegality. Any such step in impunity is equally an impeachable offence against the Governor under our constitution.
“ALGON appeals to traditional rulers, eminent Oyo State indigenes and all people of good conscience to prevail on the government to allow peace to reign by following the path of the rule of law on which democratic government is based. If the government claims to have appealed the judgment it is disobeying recklessly, should it not await the outcome of such an appeal?
“We will continue to uphold the law and defend the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and we will not allow our state to be returned to a state of brigandage and lawlessness.”
However, Adisa advised the group to focus on the case they claim to have filed in court “and leave the government to its service of the people”, vowing that “the government will not be distracted by their antics.”