Kemi Olaitan in Ibadan
Oyo State Governor, ‘Seyi Makinde, stated that his administration will continue to promote the independence of the Judiciary in the state.
According to him, his administration has created the enabling environment for the judicial arm of government to carry out its constitutional responsibilities, because it recognised that it is the bastion of hope for the common man.
Makinde stated this at a reception organised by the Oyo State Government in honour of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Honourable Justice Olukayode Ariwoola.
At the event, which had in attendance four other state governors, justices of the Supreme Court, Oyo State Judiciary, top lawyers and other eminent dignitaries, Makinde expressed delight at the fact that the state produced Nigeria’s Number 5 citizen.
The governor, who explained that it was the first time in the history of Nigeria that Oyo State would produce the CJN, said that the development has heralded many pacesetting achievements for the state.
He said: “I like to specially recognise my brothers, Governors Nyesom Wike of Rivers State; Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia State); Samuel Ortom (Benue State) and Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu State).
“When my Lord, Justice Amina Augie JSc., was talking, she said ‘our own Justice Kayode Ariwoola, but more of their own.’ So, the CJN belongs to everybody and to nobody.
“I thank God for tonight and for the fact that the Supreme Court was powerfully moved to Oyo State, and what you see here is Nigeria. We have my Lords from different states and geopolitical zones of this country.
“Most times, they come together, align and make decisions in the interest of this great country. We are glad you are here with us and feel highly privileged to have you here.
“For me, this is a turning point. For the first time in the history of Oyo State, we have produced the Number 5 citizen of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. So, old things have passed away and things have become new.
“I am just glad and overjoyed that we are able to have this get-together to celebrate one of our own. I am short of words. I am thankful to God Almighty for this day and I see it as the beginning of many Pacesetter things that will be happening in Oyo State.
“So, I thank you all for making it to this event and look forward to many of these.
“One thing we can take away from this gathering is that as for me, and other politicians, who recognise the fact that the judiciary is the hope of the common man, we will continue to allow the judiciary to function independently.
“The Judiciary will be allowed to continue to carry out its constitutional responsibilities.
“Once again, for Oyo State, we are delighted that we are able to witness this day.”
In his remarks, the CJN, Justice Ariwoola, appreciated Governor Makinde for honouring him and pledged that he will not let Nigerians down.
The CJN noted that there is no way anybody would write about Seyi Makinde as governor of Oyo State and would not write that a CJN came from the State during his tenure as governor.
He said: “I feel overwhelmed today and thank my Governor. I want to assure Nigerians that we are ready and waiting and we shall not let down Nigerians.
“On the 12th of October, when I was sworn in as the CJN in substantive capacity, the governor appreciated President Muhammadu Buhari on behalf of the entire Oyo State and the president just smiled, but maybe he did not understand.
“The Lord single-handedly, as He has always done, did it for my governor. It is during his time that the Yoruba has the position of the CJN again, which it last had 37 years ago.
“So, this dinner that the governor has organised today, is to give gratitude to God, because there is no way anybody would write about Seyi Makinde as governor of Oyo State and would not write that a CJN came from his place during his time as governor.
“His Excellency, I congratulate you so much and this is novel again. You moved four executives of their respective states to this dinner in appreciation of God.
“Your Excellency would have noticed that being a Pacesetter State, what happened on the day of my swearing-in was more of a Pacesetter event.
“The GCON is often given to the CJN upon being sworn- n, but as a child of the Pacesetter State, I had been given the honour before I was sworn in as the CJN.”
Justice Ariwoola equally admonished politicians to allow the Judiciary to perform its function, while he also warned the Judiciary to leave politics for politicians.
He said: “I want to admonish the politicians to leave the Judiciary alone for us to function. Let them do their own thing while we do ours too. Law is not static. What we apply is law as it is made.”
The event had in attendance Justices of the Supreme Court, the leadership of Oyo State Judiciary, legal luminaries, top officials of the Oyo State government, traditional rulers, among others.
Meanwhile, the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Oyo State, yesterday lauded Makinde for what it described as an open admittance of failure by his administration to add value and meet the expectations of the good people of the state in the last 41 months.
The opposition party in a statement by its Publicity Secretary, Olawale Sadare, said the governor while speaking in a live interview on a private radio station in Ibadan on Saturday, was quoted to have admitted that his administration had failed to deliver on some key sectors of the economy and general administration for reasons he could not explain.
The APC submitted that its critical assessment of the administration of Governor Makinde, had been validated and inadvertently corroborated by the chief driver himself who had also demonstrated that “he was here to waste four years in the life of the pacesetter state.”
Sadare maintained that it is an incontrovertible fact that the whole interview which lasted over an hour was uninspiring and disappointing as usual, stating that it was not all bad listening to the governor as he could not help himself further to misinform and mislead his audience.
He added that it was obvious that the conscience of Governor Makinde pricked repeatedly as he responded to questions focusing on his performance so far in office, noting that he owned up to the collosal failure and lamentable setbacks which his leadership had brought to the state.
He said even most of the uninformed people who had been speaking highly of the governor were taken aback when he publicly admitted that his administration had failed in security, waste management, local government administration, public school management (as he cannot release running grants to principals and head teachers again), commerce (as this concerned the fraudulent handling of Agbowo Shopping Complex and inability to attract meaningful investment) among other things.
According to him, “The governor expressed his frustration in tackling the problem of waste management and environmental protection. He also talked about why he could not do so much on improving the security of the state since he must treat some violent characters in the state with kid glove on account of political partnership. As if that was not enough, Governor Makinde went further to reveal how his government brought complete ruins to Agbowo Shopping Complex in a questionable attempt to privatise the commercial facility.
“Another interesting revelation from the interview was about the governor trying to justify his usurpation of the rights and functions of local government council officials. He admitted taking over the financial accounts of all the 33 local government councils as well as the 35 local council development areas whose officials he described as lacking in competence, probity and accountability even when the good people of the state know that the idea of joint account as currently being run by Governor Makinde and his lackeys at the third tier level of government is to mismanage funds.
“Interestingly, Governor Makinde spoke about how he approved N10 million for each of the Council Chairmen as their respective monthly security votes but he had to cancel the approval when the officials could not account for the money which had run into several billions of naira over a period of time. We wonder why the state anti-graft agency floated by the current administration had not been made to look into this even as the governor himself must be made to explain why he is now the custodian and sole administrator of local government funds.”
Sadare stated further that what Governor Makinde failed to tell the whole world was that he has not done well in any of the key sectors to justify the confidence reposed in him by the electorate in 2019, noting that Oyo as the pacesetter state deserves a creative, innovative and sincere governor who would not rule with propaganda, ego and grandstanding.
While lauding the governor for getting his own judgement partially right this time, he urged him to buckle up and ensure that something meaningful is achieved within the remaining seven months of the span of his administration.