Some village heads in Oyo State have stopped the Feb. 11 local government poll and the disbursement of the monthly federal allocation to the 33 local governments. Mr Seun Abimbola, the state’s Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, disclosed this at a news conference in Ibadan on Tuesday.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that 15 village heads had approached the Federal High Court in Abuja on issues bordering on the newly created Local Council Development Areas(LCDAs) in the state. The 15 village heads are Chief Oladokun Abiola, Lasisi Jokaola, Tesleem Adekunle, Jimoh Oyeleye, James Ayelagbe, Rabiu Tijani, Ganiyu Odunewu, Alhaji T. Atanda and Dauda Atolagbe.
Others are Igbayilola Yinusa, Ibrahim Haruna, Azeez Akintola, Waheed Okedoyin, Akinrogun Taiwo and Fakayode Moses. The village heads, he said, had obtained an injunction from the court on Friday and the state government was notified through its Abuja Liaison Office on Monday. Those restrained, according to the injunction, were the Attorney General of the Federation, Accountant General of the Federation, Central Bank of Nigeria, Federal Ministry of Finance and Revenue Mobilisation and Fiscal Commission.
Others are the Independent National Electoral Commission, Oyo State Government, Oyo State House of Assembly, Oyo State Independent Electoral Commission and Oba Lamidi Adeyemi (Alaafin of Oyo). The commissioner stated that the court injunction restrained the 1st to 5th defendant from releasing any money to the LCDAs and the 33 constitutionally recognised local governments in the state.
“The court had directed the 2nd, 3rd and 4th defendants to warehouse in an interest yielding account all the monies and allocations belonging to the distorted 33 constitutionally recognised councils in the state. “The injunction restrained OYSIEC from conducting election for any of the 35 LCDAs and INEC or any of its agents from assisting, supporting or releasing voter’s register for the conduct of elections into the councils,” the attorney general said.
Abimbola, however, argued that the far reaching court injunction had only displayed the insensitivity of the plaintiffs to governance in the state. He stated that the state government would obey the court order and contest the injunction in court, adding that the proposed local government election in the state would not hold until the order was addressed.
Speaking on the LCDAs, Abimbola said that the state government had looked into the matter based on the demand by the people through the State House of Assembly. He said that due process was followed in the creation of the LCDAs . “A petition committee on the LCDAs was set up of which I am the chairman. We received several petitions and we are working on them. “The plaintiff has submitted petitions to the committee and made physical appearance before the committee.
“It is shocking to see the same people approach the court when issues are still being treated. The action of the plaintiff was too insensitive. “The plaintiff, who are from a community with just four local governments , have succeeded in stopping the allocations into the 33councils in the state and election,” he said.
Also speaking, Mr Bimbo Kolade, the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters, said that the creation of the LCDAs was still valid, adding it was only the election that had been suspended. Mr Toye Arulogun, the State Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, on his part, stated that the action of the plaintiff would cripple governance in the state.
He said that government was working hard to get the outstanding salaries and allowances of workers paid, lamenting that the stoppage of allocation to councils would worsen the challenges being faced. Mr Yomi Layinka, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Communications and Strategy, also stated that the action of the applicants would cripple governance in the state.
Layinka, however, urged the people to be law abiding as government was contesting the injunction in the court.(NAN