STEPHEN GBADAMOSI, IBADAN
The All Progressives Congress (APC) in Oyo State has described the plan by the Governor Seyi Makinde-led government in the state to conduct fresh local government election in May as “a theatre of the absurd which could not attract the attention of any serious political player or pundits as it is a mere waste of time and resources.”
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) administration of Governor Makinde and the opposition APC had been at daggers’ drawn over the legality or otherwise of the governor’s decision to dissolve the elected officials of the 33 local government areas and 35 local council development areas (LCDAs) on his first day in office in 2019, even as the Supreme Court has announced May 7 as the date for its final verdict on the matter.
The state chapter of the APC, in a statement issued on Friday and made available to journalists in Ibadan by the Special Assistant (Media) to its Caretaker Committee Chairman, Chief Akin Oke, and Secretary to the Committee on the Membership Registration and Revalidation Exercise, Olawale Sadare, stated that Governor Makinde had, again, exposed himself as a person who lacked respect for the principle of constitutional democracy and the rule of law.
“It is obvious that the governor knows that his decision to sack democratically-elected chairmen and councilors is an aberration as well as a slap on democracy and the rule of law.
“This has reflected in the back and forth tactics he has been using in calming the nerves of the people over the stagnation he has brought into the administration of the third tier of government in the state.
“And to further demonstrate his disrespect for the judiciary, Governor Makinde waited for the Supreme Court to pick a date for its judgment on the Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON) case against him before ordering his stooges in the Oyo State Independent Electoral Commission (OYSIEC) to roll out guidelines for the purported plan to conduct a fresh local government election in the state.
“In the mind of the governor, the worst scenario would be for the court to order financial compensation for his victims in lieu of the last two years of the tenure which he has robbed them.
“But our firm belief in the judiciary as the last hope of the common man gives us an assurance that Governor Makinde and his party will be utterly disappointed this time, because it is clear that he had acted illegally and shamefully to the consternation of all defenders of democracy, rule of law and rationality.
“For us in the APC, our resolve to remain calm so far in the face of oppression, injustice and rights violation is borne out of our commitment to peace in the society as well as the protection of the nation’s fragile democracy.
“It is recalled that we recently granted a request for visitation by the chairman and members of the OYSIEC appointed by Governor Makinde without recourse to the illegality surrounding their appointment. We did this to demonstrate our commitment to dialogue and peaceful resolution of any matter of contention in democracy.
“The team, led by Mr. Isiaka Olagunju, SAN, was told in clear terms that our party would always be ready to act in the interest of the society, democracy and the rule of law. What this simply indicates is that we would never be a party to any illegality or act capable of setting a bad precedent in the country, no matter the level of intimidation or blackmail.
“Apart from the fact that the planned conduct of local government election in Oyo State is a mockery of democracy and the judiciary, no member of the society would have confidence in Governor Makinde as somebody who has what it takes to deliver a free, fair and hitch-free poll in the state, given his lackadaisical approach to security of lives and property of the people in the state.
“As a matter of fact, all the governor needs do is to apologise to the council chairmen and councilors whose tenure he cut short and involve every critical stakeholders, particularly the state House of Assembly, in implementing the verdict of the Supreme Court which he (Makinde) knows cannot be in his favour for obvious reasons,” the statement read.