Amid outcry by the All Local Governments of Nigerian (ALGON), Oyo state chapter, over their sacking and inauguration of new Caretaker Chairmen, Governor Seyi Makinde has asked the sacked Chairmen to take their agitations over the appointment of Caretaker Chairmen to court.
In its new year message, Ayodeji Abass-Aleshinloye led ALGON had lamented the dissolution of the local government councils by the Makinde government and alleged breach of law in the appointment of Caretaker Chairmen.
ALGON had held that it remained in office by law, while affirming confidence in the rule of law and independence of the judiciary to uphold the Supreme Court and Oyo state High Court subsisting judgement against illegal dissolution of councils.
Speaking with Tribune Online, on Thursday, on controversies around the operation of the local government system, Makinde, through his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Taiwo Adisa, said no court order was violated in appointing caretaker Chairmen as there was no such order restraining the state government from running the local government system.
Makinde explained that the actions of his administration in dissolving the former local government Chairmen and appointing caretaker Chairmen was in righting the wrong of the immediate past administration.
According to Makinde, the Senator Abiola Ajimobi administration erred abinitio by violating a court order to conduct the ‘kangaroo’ local government election thereby rendering the constitution of ALGON Oyo null and void.
Though he acknowledged the ongoing case challenging the dissolution of the former Chairmen, Makinde said the current government appointed interim Chairmen to prevent continued vacuum in the running of the local government system.
He added that the Caretaker Chairmen were constituted in accordance with laws of the state House of Assembly, and would run until the expected local government election holds this year.
“The government has looked at every aspect of that ongoing case. There is no order from the court restraining the government of Oyo state from running the local government system, despite the fact that there is a case pending in court. The case pending will be determined by the court one day. When that case is determined, the government will look at whatever the court says, and follow the dictates of the court.
“But, we cannot say that life will come to an end because the matter is in court. We cannot allow the life of the local government to come to an end because some people took the matter to court.
“The election that brought in the sacked Chairmen into office was conducted in contravention of a court order. The court gave a restraining injunction on the APC government of Senator Abiola Ajimobi to conduct the election. That government ignored that court order and did a selection among its members because the other parties boycotted the illegality that was going to unfold.
“They violated a court order by going ahead to conduct the kangaroo election and put in place an ALGON claimed to be led by Aleshinloye. That is an illegal ALGON that has gone to the wind; it has been dissolved.
“There is no order of the court that says we cannot run the local government, and the government in place has decided to run the local government in accordance with the laws of the land as passed by the state House of Assembly.
“The constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria guarantees the state Houses of Assembly to pass laws for smooth running and operation of the local government.
“In accordance with that law, the state government constituted the body of local government Chairmen and put in place Caretaker Chairmen at the LCDAs. When election holds, it will not be held into the LCDAs because they are just administrative units, not political headquarters as known to the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria.
“So, there is no violation of any court order by Oyo state government in constituting the councils as they are presently put in place.
“If the so-called ALGON led by Aleshinloye believe that any wrong was committed by the state government in putting in place a properly constituted local government in Oyo state, they are free to take another matter to court and let the court hear their complaints,” Makinde said.
Asked why the state government didn’t allow the sacked Chairmen see out their tenure, like it was in Ekiti state, Makinde said the former Ayodele Fayose administration differed because it conducted local government election with no legal hindrance.
“There are no two cases that are the same hence we see a variation in rulings. The case of Ekiti cannot be used to judge the situation of Oyo state. The local government that Governor Ayo Fayose put in place was not put in place in contravention of the court order and there was no encumbrance. There was no court order restraining Fayose from conducting the election when he did. “But the case of Oyo is that Governor Seyi Makinde is correcting an aberration put in place by the government of Senator Abiola Ajimobi. The government of Senator Ajimobi was told point-blank by the court not to conduct election into the local government but he went ahead to breach the constitution and some people who are product of that illegality want to claim that since they have been sworn-in, they should not be tampered with because of the constitution.
“The constitution did not say that you should break a section of it and claim right. The APC government of Senator Ajimobi had no right to break the law of the land. If there is a breach, it behoves the state House of Assembly, working in tandem with the governor of Oyo state, to right the wrong, and the correction has been made to the wrong that they committed,” Makinde said.