The Governor of Oyo State, Mr. ‘Seyi Makinde, has said that his government would not comply with a recent Supreme Court ruling on the administration of local government, because contrary to the 33 constitutionally recognized local governments, there are 35 additional areas of local council development, making it 68, a number that he claimed he couldn’t work with.
Therefore, he said former council presidents may have to go back to the higher court to determine which of them should be paid.
However, in a related development, the governor has doubted the possibility of the ongoing amendment to the constitution, saying that any amendment to the 1999 constitution without restructuring would be nothing more than a waste of time and, as such, an exercise. Useless.
The Supreme Court, last month, reversed Makinde’s firing of the presidents of the councils in the state. The removal of the 68 council chairs, who were elected in 2018, was one of the governor’s first decisions as soon as he was sworn in, in May 2019.
The officials, drawn from the 33 local government areas (LGA) and 35 local council development areas (LCDA) and their councilors, were members of the ruling Congress of All Progressives (APC).
The court also ruled that the replacement of the dismissed officials by interim committees was illegal and therefore fined Mr. Makinde’s administration 20 million naira.
But the court appeared to favor Makinde by noting that the terms of the sacked presidents and councilors had expired. However, he ordered that all wages and benefits outstanding from him be paid with immediate effect.
Speaking to THISDAY at Ibadan Government House, Makinde said: “The Nigerian Constitution recognizes 33 local government areas and 351 districts 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 established interim committees before proper elections were held in the 33 constitutionally recognized local government areas. ”
Makinde, who further broke his understanding of the court ruling, posited that, “What the Supreme Court invariably said is that it is policy that governors should not dissolve local government administrations. They expected me to approach the court to argue the unconstitutionality of the 35 LCDAs.