Home News Aiyedatiwa, Ajayi at loggerhead over 33 LCDAs cancellation

Aiyedatiwa, Ajayi at loggerhead over 33 LCDAs cancellation

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A former deputy governor in Ondo State, Agboola Ajayi, and the camp of Governor Lucky Aiyedatiwa traded words on Monday over last week’s court judgment scrapping 33 Local Council Development Areas created by the late Governor Rotimi Akeredolu in September 2023.

Ajayi, while addressing journalists at his residence in Akure on Monday, said Aiyedatiwa mishandled the issue as he should have pacified the plaintiffs and not allowed the matter to get to court.

Ajayi, who will be facing Aiyedatiwa on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 16 November governorship election in Ondo State, said he was more experienced in local government matters and would have handled the matter better than Aiyedatiwa did.

In a swift response, the Lucky Aiyedatiwa Campaign Organisation Foot Soldiers Independent Council said the statement by Ajayi was an insult to Governor Aiyedatiwa and the judiciary, saying he needed to apologise to both parties.

In a judgment last week, Justice A.O. Adebusuoye of the Ondo State High Court in Akure faulted the process by which Akeredolu created the 33 LCDAs.

The judge said the LG Creation Law 2023, which birthed the 33 LCDAs, stood nullified because Akeredolu signed the law in Ibadan, Oyo State, and not on the soil of Ondo State.

The judge declared that signing the law outside of Ondo State made it “unconstitutional, illegal, null and void”.

Speaking with journalists at his residence in Akure on Monday, Ajayi, who served as deputy governor under the late Akeredolu, said Aiyedatiwa ought not to have allowed the matter get to court.

He said, “I still maintain what I said by blaming Governor Aiyedatiwa for the judgment and the aftermath of the creation of the LCDAs. Governance is a serious business. Once you inherit an asset from the government, you must also inherit the liability of whatever it is from that government.

“I was a former local government chairman. I served as a former supervising counsellor, chairman of the caretaker committee, and elected chairman. If you put these together with the local government, my experience there is about eight years.

“I also served as deputy governor, where I supervised the local government chairman, so I have more experience than Aiyedatiwa in that regard. Not only that, I appreciate and understand what the local government administration can do for the people in rural areas. So, we must take local government administration very seriously.

“The Akoko people have the right to protest that there was no equitable distribution in the creation of the LCDAs. These are normal, legitimate protests. But it is now the duty of the government to look into their grievances and complaints. The government should have intervened, reconciled, and addressed the injustice that people must have raised as regards the creation of LCDAs.

“I’m blaming Aiyedatiwa because before they went to court, they must have written several letters to him. Even when they were in court, what stopped him from calling to settle out of court?”

Reacting, the Lucky Aiyedatiwa Campaign Organisation Foot Soldiers Independent Council lambasted Ajayi for attacking Aiyedatiwa.

In a statement by its spokesperson, Mr Kayode Fasua, the organisation said, “Agboola Ajayi, the PDP governorship candidate, should by now have been visited by a court bailiff for insulting the Nigerian judiciary. His excuse that he accused the governor of being responsible for the judgment and not the high court judge is as illogical as it is utter jabbers, and above all, a lame excuse.

“Did Governor Aiyedatiwa institute the suit? Could the governor have stopped individuals and groups from exercising their right to approach the court to seek justice? So, for Mr Ajayi to acquiesce himself by saying he was not blaming the judge but Governor Aiyedatiwa, is as good as saying six is different from half a dozen.

“Assuredly, Governor Aiyedatiwa deserves apologies from him, while His Lordship, the judge who presided over the case, and the Nigerian judiciary are urged to ensure his prosecution for the defamatory statements, that someone influenced the judgment”.

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