Kemi Olaitan in Ibadan
The lingering local government crisis in Oyo State wednesday took another dimension as the sacked Chairman of Afijio Local Government Area of the state, Hon. Samuel Aderemi, was kidnapped by scores of rampaging thugs who stormed the council, in an attempt to prevent him and councillors under the platform of All Progressives Congress (APC) from resuming to their offices.
THISDAY learnt that Aderemi, after being beaten to stupor, was whisked away in a bus to an unknown destination, but later rescued after two hours by security agents.
Oyo State Chairman of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON), Prince Ayodeji Abass Aleshinloye, who confirmed the incident, said Aderemi is presently recuperating in an undisclosed hospital.
THISDAY gathered that similar scenarios also played out in some councils that include Ibadan North, Ibadan North-east local government areas and Omi Apata Local Council Development Authority (LCDA), where thugs had a field day, causing mayhem while security agents, comprising of the police and civil defence men were on ground to prevent a breakdown of law and order.
Injuries were inflicted on party members of the APC and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who engaged in a free for all.
Trouble began on Monday when the sacked chairmen and councillors make good their threat to resume into their various offices within the 68 local government and LCDA secretariats.
It would be recalled that Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, shortly after his inauguration in May last year, dissolved the chairmen and asked them to hand over to the most senior career officer in their respective councils. The sacked officials then resorted to a court of law to protect their mandate.
The council chairmen were elected on May 12, 2018 in local government election conducted by former Governor Abiola Ajimobi.
Information gathered from all the 33 local government areas and 35 local council development areas in the state showed that majority of the chairmen had resumed into their offices except few.
However, there were pockets of violence in Ibadan South-east and Ibadan North-east councils where some hoodlums allegedly led by a leader of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) in the state, Alhaji Lamidi Mukaila a.k.a. Auxiliary, reportedly hijacked the situation.
Abass-Aleshiloye, while speaking yesterday, maintained that he and his members had employed all peaceful and legal options to reclaim their mandates eight months after they were sacked, adding that their resolve to resume their offices was premised on Supreme Court judgement which declared that no governor has the right to unjustly dissolve elected chairmen.
Abass-Aleshiloye, who urged local government workers to resume back to their various offices, called on the people of the state to remain calm and not to panic, stating that all efforts to meet with the governor by the dissolved chairmen have been meeting brick walls.
Efforts to speak with the Public Relations Officer, Oyo State Police Command, SP Gbenga Fadeyi, on the development proved abortive, as calls to his line were not answered.