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Reactions trail Ondo LCDAs nullification

By Sade Adewale, Kayode Olabanji,
Jimoh Ahmed, & Kayode Afolabi

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Mixed reactions have continued to greet the recent judgement of the Ondo State High Court nullifying the creation of the 33 Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) in the state.

An Akure High Court on Thursday declared as unconditional and illegal the creation of the 33 LCDAs.

In a landmark judgement, Justice Adegboyega Adebusoye, described the LCDAs as inchoate and not lawfully created.

The judgment has, however, elicited reactions from stakeholders across the state.

While some stakeholders in Ondo South Senatorial District described the court verdict as a welcome development and best decision, others frowned at it, calling on the state to appeal the judgement.

In separate interviews with some stakeholders in Okitipupa, headquarters of Okitipupa Local Government Area, they said the LCDAs creation did not enjoy the support of the majority in the state, saying, the court has done the needful to correct the anomaly.

Chief Omotayo Enikuemehin, from Ode Aye in Okitipupa local government, welcomed the judgment, saying, the whole arrangement was fraught with controversy, and did not receive the consent of the majority of the people in the state.

Enikuomehin, an APC leader noted that, Okitipupa with 13 wards before the creation was divided into three while Ilaje with 12 wards was divided into four.

“Look at the issue of Akoko, Owo, Ose; the manipulation was too glanring”, he stressed.

Another stakeholder, from Igbokoda, in Ilaje Local Government, Prince Emorioloye Owolemi, said the creation of the LCDAs, was a misguided priority from the onset, noting that ‘Ondo State has no available resources to operate the LCDAs created erroneously”.

“We believe that the court has done the needful to correct the influx of impressions. The court is the last hope of the people to right the wrongs,’ Emorioloye noted.

But a former Chairman of Ilaje Local Government area, Mr Goke Jatuase, said the nullification of the LCDAs was not fair.

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“If there are complaints, it is supposed to be looked into on individual merit. On the reason that the law was signed outside Ondo State. I think it is pedestrian because treaties were signed out of the shores of a country and are binding on the member states.

“The benefits of the LCDAs should have been considered before cancellation.

Some other laws were equally signed during this period even the ones that benefit the judiciary, and wondered why those ones were allowed to stay, Jatuase asked.

Also, Prince Lawson Akintokun, a legal practitioner and public affairs analyst from Igbokoda, noted that existence of LCDAs is recognized, guaranteed and provided for in the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended, citing different sections of the Constitution to back his claim.

On his part, a former member, Ondo State House of Assembly, Ifedayo Akinsoyinu, said the court judgement must be appealed.

He posited that if government had addressed the grievances of the plaintiffs early enough, the case wouldn’t have gone to court in the first instance.

According to him, it is a political problem which should have been solved politically.

Also speaking, Mr Oladele Akintade noted that the creation, had been greeted by mixed reactions in different communities in the state before the court judgement, pointing out that while some were happy, especially for siting the LCDAs headquarters in their domains, others were displeased, either saying the headquarters ought to be in their places or alleging powerful forces influenced relocation of the seats.

However, Chairman, Idashen, Owo Block of the Christian Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (CPFN/PFN), Pastor (Dr) Aderemi Bakare, and a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP in Owo, Alhaji Kareem Olowosaudi, described the nullification of the 33 LCDAs created by the administration of the late former governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, as a great disservice to the people of the Sunshine State.

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According to them, the court judgement that nullified the LCDAs “has killed the yearnings and aspirations of the people for government to be brought closer to them”

Bakare added that LCDAs are powerful tools to bring government nearer to the people, especially in the rural areas.

He enjoined the state government to appeal the judgement and in the process, seek a possible out of court settlement.

Bakare however, appealed to the government to go back to the issue of the LCDAs and look at the agitations of those aggrieved with a view to them.

Also, Olowosaudi, said the judgement was a nullification of the people’s desire and their aspiration for government at their doorsteps.

According to him, the development is an open confrontation to development at the grassroots and the rural areas, their wellbeing as well as economic benefits.

On his part, a politician and legal practitioner, Mr Rufus Omotayo, said the development is politically motivated

His words: ” Whether a law is signed outside the state or not, as far it is signed by constituted authority it remains valid. I see the judgement as politically motivated, nobody is questioning the integrity of the Judge.

“During Buhari regime, some documents were taken to him to sign outside the country, he can exercise the power by signing the document over there, but instead he gave the order that Vice President Osinbajo should sign them, having delegated power to him.

“Legally, the process of LCDAs took the proper process of law, they started by way of accepting memoranda from individuals, communities, from different personalities. There was public hearing on the bill before it was passed by the House of Assembly, and later signed by the Governor”, he explained

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Meanwhile, the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice of Ondo State, Dr Olukayode Ajulo,, SAN, said government has taken cognizance of the Akure High Court’s recent judgment nullifying the creation of the 33 Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs).

In a statement signed by Dele Sadiq Jobi, his Media Assistant, the Justice Commissioner said he has promptly requested for the Certified True Copy (CTC) of the judgment. “Upon receipt, a meticulous study and analysis will be undertaken, culminating in a comprehensive legal opinion to the Government of Ondo State”.

According, to him, subsequently, all necessary measures, in accordance with our laws, will be taken to safeguard the interests of our citizens, foster peaceful coexistence, and uphold the rule of law.

The statement added that the Attorney General remains steadfast in his commitment to prioritizing the well-being and welfare of our citizens, working tirelessly to ensure that justice and the law are served.

The names of the nullified LCDAs and their headquarters include:

Akoko South South–  Akungba Akoko

Akure East– Oda

Akure West –  lsinkan

Arigidi/Erusu –  Arigidi Akoko

Arogbo –  Arogbo

Idanre Central –  Opa-ldanre

Idanre South West –      `Ofosu

Ifedore Central– llara Mokin

Ifesowapo – Araromi Obu

Igbaotun –  Oba-ile

Ijare –  ljare

Ikale East –  Ajagba

Ikale North –  lgbotako

Ikale West–  llutitun

Ilaje Aheri/Etikan – Agerige

Ilaje Central –  Ode Ugbo

Ilaje East –  Awoye

Ilelabo –  ifira – Akoko

Ile – Oluji West — Bamikemo.

Irekari –  ldoani.

Irun/Ogbagi – Okeluju( Ogbagi/ lrun-Akoko

Isowopo –  Ise- Akoko.

Irepodun –  Ajue

Okeigbo –  Okeigbo

Ondo North East—- Epe

Ondo North West –  Enuowa

Ondo South West – Bagbe

Oredegbe –  lmoru

Owo East – Ipele

Owo North East–  lyere

Owo North West – Emure Ile

Owo South –  Ijebu

Oyemekun –  Adofure.

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