A fresh fact has emerged on why the legal suit of the Association of Local Government of Nigeria in Oyo State against their dissolution by the present administration was turned down by the Court of Appeal.
The Court of Appeal sitting in Ibadan recently affirmed the sack of the former council chiefs by the administration of Governor Seyi Makinde on May 29, 2019.
While responding to questions on a radio programme: “Bottomline,” on IBR 92.5FM in Ibadan, the State Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Dr. Wasiu Olatubosun, said the purported May 12, 2018 local government election was a nullity from the beginning as all the candidates of the All Progressives Congress never obtained forms to contest.
Olatubosun revealed that no document in the custody of the Oyo State Independent Electoral Commission contained the fact that any form was purchased by the candidates of the erstwhile ruling party in the State, while the interested candidates from the opposition parties were barred from doing so till the election took place.
He said: “It was clear from the beginning that the exercise was a charade.
“They just went ahead to waste the State’s resources.
“None of the APC candidates obtained form, while the opposition were not allowed to obtain as well.
“This is part of why they have no moral and judicial stand to argue their case.
“We were all aware of the outcry from their own party chieftains like the former Minister of Communication, Barrister Bayo Shittu, the Accord Party and Socialist Party of Nigeria among others against the activities that came before the election and the election itself.
“People are not fools.
“They know what was going on and you know that throughout their illegal stay in office, the people in their different domains never gave them support.
“That is the sign that they were forced on the system and that would not be for long.”
He assured that the present administration has been putting in the right process to conduct the local government election without delay like the last administration, which conducted the election at the twilight of its tenure in office.
The Commissioner hinted that although no date has been set for the election, members of the OYSIEC Board indicated that work was ongoing to present a date and process that would have the input of all stakeholders in the political process in the State, especially the opposition parties.
While reacting to the issue of fraudulent practices perpetuated by the past administration, Olatubosun assured the people of the State of the readiness of the Makinde-led administration to probe the allegations.
He said there were documents in the possession of the State, which the State anti-graft body would work on to unearth many shoddy deals made by the last administration, which had what he called colossal effect on the finances of the State.
He said: “Whenever the anti-graft body commences work and documents that show monumental fraudulent practices by the last administration is presented to them for investigation, the people of this State will be confounded.
“Some people have used the resources that belonged to the vast majority of Oyo State people to promote personal glory and interests.”
Dr. Olatubosun added that the State’s free education policy was as a result of the promises made during the campaign period by Makinde and the realisation that Oyo State was among the eight States declared by Universal Basic Education Commission of having the highest number of out-of-school children in the country.
He said free education and distribution of free textbooks, payment of grants and other inputs have reduced the number of children out of school in the State.
He said the administration would not back out of the programme despite opposition from some quarters calling for reintroduction of the N1000 levy for students in public schools.