Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti
Ekiti State Government yesterday implemented the Supreme Court’s judgement which relocated the headquarters of Ilejemeje Local Government Area of the state from Iye-Ekiti to Eda Oniyo.
The government said it has no option than to align with the Apex Court’s decision, which branded the recognition of Iye-Ekiti as the headquarters of the council since 1996 null and void.
Following the pronouncement of Iye-Ekiti the headquarters against Eda Oniyo that was contained in the federal government’s gazette, the Eda Oniyo people had gone to court to contest what they described as politically motivated relocation of the headquarters by the then military governor, Col. Inua Mohammed Bawa.
The Supreme Court in its judgement last year December recognised Eda Oniyo as the headquarters and ordered Governor Kayode Fayemi to effect the relocation with immediate effect.
Addressing a press conference in Ado-Ekiti yesterday, the Ekiti State Deputy Governor, Chief Bisi Egbeyemi, said the state took the step following the advice of the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Wale Fapohunda and the report of a fact-finding committee, which advised that by virtue of the Supreme Court’s pronouncement, that it will be “illegal, irregular, unconstitutional, null and void” to recognise Iye-Ekiti as the headquarters of the council.
Egbeyemi said sequel to the judicial decision, the government proclaimed that “the decision of the Supreme Court, the highest court in the land is sacrosanct and inviolable and is binding on the government.
“That by virtue of the judgement, Eda Oniyo is the only legally recognised headquarters of Ilejemeje Local Government Area of the state.
“That the headquarters of Ilejemeje Local Government and its machinery are hereby relocated by Ekiti State Government from Iye-Ekiti to Eda Oniyo Ekiti,” he said.
Egbeyemi said by virtue of the pronouncement, all government departments, institutions, organisations, public functionaries, corporate bodies and others are expected to cooperate with government to facilitate smooth relocation. The deputy governor directed the Chairman of the council, Hon Sunday Awolola, and the Commissioner for Local Government Affairs, Prof. Adio Folayan, to prepare a schedule for the relocation of the council to the new town.
The Eleda of Eda Oniyo Ekiti, Oba Julius Awolola, applauded the government for relocating the council to his domain and for obeying the judgement of the court.
“I want to appeal to my people not to be over-joyous. They should maintain peace. We have not fought for 23 years. The day they even took it forcefully, we did not fight. We appreciate the government for this gesture,” he said.
Awolola, in his remarks, appealed to people of the two towns to be peaceful and be law-abiding, saying adequate security would be provided by the government to safeguard the lives of the populace.