Justice Moshood Abass of the Oyo State High Court, sitting at Ring road, Ibadan, on Wednesday adjourned the ongoing matter between the Oyo State Government and the Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON) till February 21, after parties reiterated their commitment to further explore means of amicable resolution in the interest of peace.
The court had last week adjourned the matter for parties to try an out-of- court settlement, but at the resumed hearing of the matter on Wednesday, the court was informed that parties have not arrived at an agreement favourable to the parties because of some absolute conditions in the proposal submitted. The court was informed that two meetings were held in the course of the week; February 8 and 10 but no agreement was reached because ALGON’s position was absolute.
All the parties however stated that they were still willing to pursue settlement, for peace to reign in the state and had agreed to an adjournment for them to further work on amicable settlement.
Counsel to ALGON, Adekunle Sobaloju Esq., had informed the court that, “in the interest of peace to reign in Oyo State, we are not opposed to the bid to resolve the dispute amicably,” and counsel to the All Progressive Congress (APC), Mutalubi Ojo, had aligned himself with Sobaloju’s stance, adding that they are interested in exploring options that border on settlement.
Speaking, counsel to the government, Dr Akin Onigbinde (SAN), said the matter has to do with overall peace of the state and it is the responsibility of everyone to ensure that peace and good governance continues in Oyo state.
“You will observe that during the last date of adjournment, the court graciously agreed that the parties should explore amicable resolution of the dispute. That was undertaken in the last couple of days and we were not able to arrive at any conclusion. And counsel again today all agreed that further efforts be made to resolve amicably in the best interest of the state. All parties, both claimant and defendant, were unanimous in the necessity and expediency of ensuring that this matter be given the best. If during the next date of adjournment it is then not possible, like the court said, the normal judicial adjudication may then kick in.
“We are hopeful of the issue being resolved before the next adjourned date because our clients are a peace loving administration. There is no dispute that cannot be resolved. We are very hopeful that once the other party is willing to shift ground, be reasonable, and have the best interest of the state in focus, there is no reason that it will not be possible to find a resolution to the matter,”Onigbinde said.
Corroborating the development, Niyi Akintola (SAN), counsel to the Attorney General of the Federation(AGF), had said the option of settlement is an attempt to ensure that peace reigns in the state, adding that “the rules of court makes provisions for settlement of cases out of court and that was what parties are trying to explore because we are all stakeholders in the state and want peace.”
Justice Abass counseled parties to consider the people they want to serve and the interest of the state in everything they do as they are all stakeholders in the state.
“All parties in this matter are stakeholders in Oyo State Government and the progress of the state, you should therefore exercise maturity. In the interest of the people parties are striving to serve, and the important word to note is serve, so parties should look beyond politics and resolve the matter in the interest of the state. Settlement involves compromise from all parties, no one should be rigid.
“I will say the state is lucky to have people like you; that can agree to sit together and discuss settlement after all that transpired before you came here, that is good and in the interest of the state,” Justice Abass stated.
It would be recalled that the Oyo State Government had filed the case against ALGON, Commissioner of Police, ALGON Chairman, APC Chairman in the state, Chief Akin Oke and the AGF, seeking an order to prevent the sacked council chairmen from resuming at their various offices.