The Oyo State Governor, Engr. Seyi Makinde, has said his government would not comply with a recent Supreme Court ruling on the local government administration, because contrary to the constitutionally recognised 33 local governments, there are additional 35 local council development areas, making it 68, a number he claimed he couldn’t work with.
According to him, the sacked council chairpersons might have to approach the apex court again to determine which of them should be paid.
The Supreme Court, last month, overturned Makinde’s sack of the council chairpersons in the state. Removal of the 68 council chairpersons, who were elected in 2018, was one of the early decisions of the governor as soon as he was sworn in, in May 2019.
The officials, drawn from the 33 local government areas (LGAs) and 35 local council development areas (LCDAs) and their councillors, were members of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
The court also decided that the replacement of the sacked officials with caretaker committees was illegal and therefore fined Mr. Makinde’s administration N20 million.
But the court appeared to favour Makinde by noting that the tenures of the sacked council chairmen and councilors had expired. It, however, ordered that all their outstanding salaries and allowances must be paid with immediate effect.
In a interview with THISDAY, Makinde said: “The Constitution of Nigeria recognises 33 local government areas and 351 wards in Oyo State. The previous administration created local development areas and increased the number to 68. We couldn’t work with that, so, we scrapped it and put in place caretaker committees before proper elections were held in the 33 constitutionally recognised local government areas.
Makinde who explained his own understanding of the judgement futher stated that “What the Supreme Court invariably said is that it is its policy that governors should not dissolve local government administrations. They expected me to approach the court to argue the unconstitutionality of the 35 LCDAs.
“If I had gone to court, it would have taken this length of time for them to reach a decision by which time they would have served out their tenure. They have to go back to court to determine, who among them should be paid. And I doubt if that matter can be decided during my tenure. I may be out of here by that time,” he said.