Oyo State governor, Mr. Seyi Makinde, has said that he would conduct local government elections next year, dismissing insinuations that caretaker committee chairmen would be appointed to replace sacked council heads.
He also said Oyo State Independent Electoral Commission, OYSIEC, would be reformed to have a generally accepted exercise.
Makinde, who said these in a chat with newsmen, vowed that he would only lift the ban on National Union of Road Transport Workers, NURTW, if it expresses willingness to quit engaging in violent clashes.
His words: “We will conduct local government election in the first quarter of next year. We will not contravene the laws in the election we plan to do. It is the opposition that is scared about the election. The matter of sacking the chairmen is now before the court so I will not be able to say a lot about that. We are ready to comply with any court judgment on the matter.
“The court asked them not to proceed with the election but they got another judgment to vacate the previous judgment. We have seen so many infractions and they know. But, I am also concerned about the fact that the constitution recognises 33 local government areas.
Elections in 33 LGAs
“The issue of creating 35 Local Council Development areas, LCDAs, is still in court. Despite the fact that the case was still in court, they proceeded with the election. You can create LCDAs for development to get to the grassroots but you have to abide by the constitution. You can hold an election in 33 local government areas but can only appoint to the 35 LCDAs. I initially agreed with the concept of LCDA but we considered that that was what we met on ground and that it will bring government closer to the grassroots. But most LCDA chairmen do not go to office daily. They just wait for money to be disbursed and share it. They only return when another money is to be shared. You conducted an election for chairmen and councillors but did not swear them in. After losing the governorship election, a year after conducting the local government election, you decided to inaugurate them and constituted the All Local Governments of Nigeria, ALGON. Who does that mean? I will abide by any court judgment. The Oyo State Independent Electoral Commission (OYSIEC) would be reformed. We would appoint people of impeccable character, not those who write results.’’
Ready to operate peacefully
On the proscription of NURTW, he said: “We are in constant engagement with them. We are not out to punish anybody. We want people to live their lives as normal as possible and we do not want to tamper with anybody’s means of livelihood. However, we cannot accept a situation whereby just because of a union, the rest of the people will be living in palpable fear. I heard what happened on the day of my inauguration between the two sides of the union and I told them that it does not matter whether anyone supported or did not support me during the electioneering. I said elections were over and it is time for governance. I swore an oath to ensure the safety and security of our people.
I will lift the ban immediately
“As I said, we are in constant engagement with them and if they are ready to operate peacefully and they can demonstrate to us that there will be no more clashes, I will lift the ban immediately. That is the condition they must fulfill. We will never go back to a situation where people were killed at Iwo Road in the name of unionism. Somebody said to me that in the last eight years of the last administration, security was one of the points that they scored really high and that nobody got killed during that period and I said no, Beyioku was killed during that period. He was the Deputy Chairman of that union. I knew him when we were in All Nigeria Progressives Party, ANPP.
I don’t want a single soul to be lost under my watch and I would wield the big hammer if something untoward is about to happen. I am not going to wait until it happens. I need to also warn them that the Anti-Terrorism Act is still on in the state and I will put as many of them in jail if they are not ready to allow peace in Oyo State reign.’’