Posted by News Express | 15 April 2017 | 3,220 times
A major crack has occurred in the Oyo State chapter of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) over the appointment of Interim Chairmen of Local Governments (LGs) by Governor Abiola Ajimobi.
Governor Ajimobi recently submitted a list of appointed Caretaker Committee Chairmen and those to man the newly created Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) to the state House of Assembly for ratification.
Among the nominees were his nephew and a son of his predecessor, Adebayo Alao-Akala, as well as a son of the late Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Samuel Ode Lana Odugade. The quick confirmation of the names and their swearing in sparked off protests in the state on Monday, with the protesters accusing the governor of imposing the appointees, without consultations with the people.
The list, incidentally, was announced on the floor of the Assembly by the Speaker, Hon. Michael Adeyemo, a day after a splinter APC group from Oke Ogun clashed with Ajimobi’s supporters at the Agodi Government Secretariat over the appointments, which they alleged were lopsided.
The Assembly, however, cleared 55 out of 57 nominees for chairmen of LGs and LCDAs as forwarded by the governor. The Chairman, House committee on Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters, Hon Bolaji Badmus, while presenting the report, said the executive should forward the names of two more people to replace Hon Taiwo Adeleke of Asabari LCDA and Mudasiru Agbaje of irepo locall government
The committee also recommends that the governor should be gender sensitive in his appointments. Hon Oladeji Bimbo, representing Ogbomoso North state constituency, called the attention of the House to the issue of gender imbalance in the appointment of council chairmen, demanding for 35 percent women representation.
The Chairman, House Committee on Women Affair said: “In this house, we have two female lawmakers and we are doing well. Also, at the executive, we have two female commissioners and they are doing well and are never found wanting in the discharge of their duties. So, I want to urge the executives to ensure that subsequent names should be female.” Hon Agbaje also lent her voice to the call for gender balance in appointments.
The House Speaker, Hon Michael Adeyemo, while responding, said the feelings of the lawmakers would be conveyed to the executive for action, adding that they might be considered for Secretary and Committee memberships.
After the House clearance, Gov. Ajimobi did not waste time to swear in the new caretaker chairmen for 28LGs and 27 LCDAs. The appointees took the oath of office at the Executive Council Chamber of the Governor’s Office on Friday. The state has 33 LGs and 35 LCDAs, but five local governments and six LCDAs from Oyo and Oriire were exempted as a result of an ongoing litigation.
Two nominees namely, Mr Mudasiru Agbaje for Irepo Local Government and Adeleke Taiwo for Asabari LCDA in Saki failed the Assembly screening. The two nominees were reportedly rejected over issues bordering on certificates and intellectual capacity to administer a local government.
Interestingly, Mr Akeem Aransi, the screened Caretaker Chairman of Lagelu West LCDA, was dropped hours before the swearing in ceremony. He was replaced with Mr Abiodun Oladeji. Addressing the new Caretaker Chairmen, Ajimobi urged them to see thire appointment as a call to service, adding that leadership requires strict adherence to due process, without unnecessary sentiment. The governor stated that the appointment was temporary and would only last for three months.
Speaking after the swearing in, the caretaker chairmen promised to replicate in their areas the good governance entrenched in the state by Ajimobi. Mr Habeeb Ibrahim and Alhaji Rabiu Lawal of Ibarapa Central Local Government and Ibarapa North-West LCDA, respectively, promised to ensure security of lives and property. They promised to ensure adequate diversification of the economy of the areas through agriculture.
Mr Adekunle Oladeji and Olamijuwonlo Alao-Akala of Ààrẹ Latoosa LCDA and Ogbomoso North Local Government promised to be good ambassadors of the governor in their councils. Alhaji Kareem Adegoke, Saki West Local Government and Mr Abolade Akanni, Iseyin Local Government promised to make good use of the opportunity to serve the people. They all pledged their unalloyed loyalty to the Ajimobi administration, assuring of continuous progress in their areas
The accusation of impunity, imposition and lopsidedness in appointments has been the hallmark of the two major parties in the country, the APC and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), leading to protracted crises all over the nation within the two parties.
In the current case of Oyo State APC, a nephew of Governor Ajimobi, who made the list, is Alhaji Teslim Ajimobi, while Adebayo Alao-Akala’s son is Olamijuwonlo. Prince Gbade Lana, is the son of the immediate past Olubadan, former Commissioner for Information in the first term of Ajimobi’s administration.
While Ajimobi’s nephew was nominated as Caretaker Chairman of Ibadan South East Local Government, Olamijuwonlo Alao-Akala was nominated for Ogbomoso North Local Government, to take after his father, who was chairman of the council before being elected deputy governor and governor in the Senator Rasidi Ladoja administration. The late Olubadan’s son was nominated for Ibadan North East LCDA.
On Monday, the bubble within Oyo APC burst. Things took a dramatic turn when members of the party from Oke Ogun marched to the government secretariat to register their displeasure over the appointment. The APC members from Saki West and Akinyele LGs, led by some of their leaders rejected the alleged imposition of candidates on them and requested that the decision be rescinded.
This is as some members from the same areas applauded Governor Ajimobi’s decision, saying the appointments were in the best interest of APC. Thus a battle line was drawn for open confrontation between the two APC groups.
It was therefore not surprising when the initial peaceful protests by the two groups in support and against Ajimobi’s appointments on Monday later turned to a free-for-all.
It took the intervention of the police to disperse what has already become a mob action, before it turned the city into a conflagration. Among those who intervened was the Executive Assistant to the Governor on Political Matters, Mr Morounkola Thomas, who appealed to the protesters to allow peace reign. He assuring them that the current arrangement is a stop gap measure as elections would still hold. Thomas pleaded with the party chieftains for understanding.
An APC chieftain, Alhaji Waheed Ahmed Ayinla, said the protest was to express displeasure over happenings in the party. He stated that they worked hard to deliver nine out of 10 LGs for Ajumobi’s second term. He added: “The governor requested and collected lists for SUBEB Secretaries, Electoral Officers and Caretaker Chairmen positions from the party across the 33 LGs.
“We submitted the lists, but they were not honoured in spite of the governor’s pledge to always consult the party before making any appointment. Many of our members suffered injuries during the election and are yet to be compensated. Most of these people appointed are not members of our party.”
Alhaji Kareem Adebayo, a party chieftain from Saki West LG area also alleged imposition of the caretaker chairmen, which he said was an embarrassment to APC, adding that it was wrong for Ajimobi to pick the chairmen without consulting the party, adding that the party’s supremacy must be respected.
The APC state party’s spokesman, Mr Wale Sadare, said the crisis was an internal affair and which is normal in a democracy. He said that “peaceful protest, especially in a democracy, is an inalienable right of citizens who feel aggrieved over issues of individual or public concern.
“Therefore, the leadership of the APC in the state cannot condemn peaceful demonstration, even though one would expect the protesters to channel their grievances through the party to the governor.