There was tension in the various local government areas and local council development areas across Oyo State on Monday as some sacked local government chairmen and councillors, under the aegis of the Association of Local Government of Nigeria, resumed at their former duty posts.
The Oyo State Government had recently appointed caretaker committee chairmen in place of the sacked chairmen, who insisted that they would continue to perform their duties as council chairmen until the end of their tenure.
The embattled state chairman of ALGON, Prince Ayodeji Abass-Aleshinloye, said in Ibadan on Monday that his colleagues, being duly elected to office during the tenure of former governor Abiola Ajimobi, were back to their former offices.
Abass-Aleshinloye, who was the Chairman of the Oluyole Local Government of Oyo State, said their return was in compliance with a Supreme Court judgment.
Recall that the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami (SAN), had, in a recent letter to the Attorney General of Oyo State, demanded the reinstatement of the sacked local government chairmen and councillors.
Also, the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, had in another letter, urged the ALGON and the state chapter of the All Progressives Congress to liaise with the state Commissioner of Police for appropriate actions.
Abass-Aleshinloye said, “Our tenure is to expire next year and after the expiration of our tenure, Governor Seyi Makinde still has about two years to conduct election. The days of impunity in this country are over.”
He said other sacked ALGON members resumed at their offices except in few cases where they were locked out.
Expressing worries that Makinde, who rode to power on the wings of the judiciary had disobeyed court order, Abass-Aleshinloye said, “The same Supreme Court you are celebrating is the same Supreme Court that gave us the judgment that we are talking about.
“You decides to respect the one that favours you but abandoned us. It is unfortunate; I don’t see it persisting.”
The sacked council chairmen were said to have forcefully entered their former offices on Monday.
It was gathered that Olamijuwonlo, a son of former governor Adebayo Alao-Akala, resumed at the Ogbomoso North Local Government amid a crowd of supporters.
Daud Abayomi of Ogbomoso Central LCDA also resumed with his councillors, just as Lanre Olaosegba of Ibarapa North-East LCDA resumed at the council secretariat.
Similarly, Adewale Adeleke of Ogbomoso South Local Government Council and his counterpart at the Ogbomoso South-West LCDA, Adedeji Adeyemo, were said to have resumed in the councils with their vice-chairmen, one of whom was Bello Rasaq.
The state chairman of the National Union of Local Government Employees, Mr Bayo Titilola-Sodo, said members complied with the sit-at-home order, adding that the union would review reports to know the next line of action.
Meanwhile, the Commissioner of Police in Oyo State, Shina Olukolu, had said the command would not fail in its duty to protect the lives and property of citizens through the enforcement of the provisions of the 1999 Constitution and the Police Acts and Regulations.
The Police Public Relations Officer, Oyo State Police Command, Fadeyi Olugbenga, in a statement on Monday, said, “The Commissioner of Police wishes to appeal to all the stakeholders, leaders and the entire peace-loving citizens of Oyo State to be circumspect in their efforts at managing their respective demands on the administration of the local government councils and the LCDAs and prevent unpalatable consequences.”
Asked what could have accounted for the AGF’s interest and directive to Oyo State on the reinstatement of the sacked local government chairmen in the state, the Chief Press Secretary to the state Governor, Taiwo Adisa, said, “Oyo is not violating the constitution in any way. The councils are being managed in accordance with the local government law of Oyo State. Only the AGF knows why he is focusing on Oyo.”
Meanwhile, the state government said on Monday that it would bring the full weight of the law to bear in view of the violent takeover of some councils.
The government in a statement by the Special Adviser on Strategy and Political Matters to the Governor, Babatunde Oduyoye, said the action of the sacked chairmen amounted to criminality and unwarranted provocation.
The statement read in part, “”We have received reports of vandalisation of government property. We have received reports of wanton destruction of doors, windows, and others, and I can tell you that the governor will not sit down and watch while some people decide to be lawless. This is criminal and the government will pursue it to a logical conclusion.”