INTERVIEW: Gov Abiodun ordered thugs to chase us out of office – Ogun Council Chairman, Osikomaiya

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Hon. Adebayo Osikomaiya is the outgoing Executive Chairman of Ijebu East Central Local Council Development Area, Ojowo in Ogun State. In this interview with DAILY POST, the council boss talks about the suspension and reinstatement of the 57 council chairmen in Ogun by the State House of Assembly, as well as the freezing of their bank accounts.

Excerpts:

You were all reinstated last week by the Ogun State House of Assembly after almost four months suspension and barely 10 days to the end of your tenure. Has any of the Chairmen tried to resume office?

Yes. I resumed this morning and several of my colleagues also did.

Are you still vacating office on October 9/10 this year?

Yes. That’s when our tenure ends constitutionally.

Can it be said that you resumed to prepare your handover note?

Exactly so. That is what it looks like.

What will you say about your LCDA bank accounts?

The accounts are frozen and we don’t have any access to them, despite the fact that they said our suspension has been lifted.

Gov Dapo Abiodun’s loyalists said he should not be blamed for your suspension, that people should put all the blames on the Ogun Assembly. Do you agree?

I disagree in its entirety. The reason for my position is that we initially ignored the resolution of the House of Assembly because such (resolution to suspend us) couldn’t stand without the accent of the Governor. However, the State Governor, under the leadership of Gov. Abiodun, issued directives that the HOLGAs should lock up our offices. They also suspended the accounts. Some of our colleagues were also chased out of their offices with political thugs.

On the order of the governor?

Yes! You may also need to know that when the resolution was also passed, we made attempts to reach out to the Governor, he ignored all our attempts to see him. I stand by everything I said.

Sir, now that you resumed work, does that mean you have ‘abandoned’ your court case against the government?

Never! Our claim isn’t on recalling us alone. We have other claims against the government. A damage has also been suffered with the three months suspension.

What are the damages?

Damages started from the point we were stopped from serving our people.

We learnt you were paid till June, does that include allowances?

Not one single allowance was paid.

Sir, can you mention some of the allowances that you used to receive before, that was not paid by Gov Abiodun?

Security votes – some months are being owed and we are demanding it from this government as government is continuum, office Imprest, furniture allowance – every political office holder in the state has gotten it aside the political functionaries at the Local Government. Today’s date is 8th of October, 2019. The government paid June and July salaries. What happened to August and September? Or have other political functionaries not gotten paid for those months also? They were paying the salaries of N229,000 without any other allowances.

As a lawyer, how will you describe the whole scenario?

It’s sad, the government simply played politics against the interests of the people of the state. We were elected to serve the people, he should have allowed us to complete our term which was just four months from the time he was sworn in. In all of this suspension, who has suffered most? The people.

Ask around about me, despite the minimal support from the state government under Former Gov Ibikunle Amosun, I leveraged on the companies in my LCDA, formed a solid partnership with them and we jointly executed projects.

I employed Medical Doctors in partnership with NYSC. I was paying them over N240,000 monthly for 11 months. I set up a drug revolving account with over N500,000 and grew it to N750,000. There were always drugs in my health centres at subsidized rates.

A grader was given to my LCDA after asset sharing; the grader had been abandoned for six years. I partnered with one of the companies, fixed it and we graded over 45 roads in the LCDA. How about payment of school fees for indigent students? I grew the IGR of the LCDA particularly at Imusin market from N15,000 every five days to N50,000 every five days.

I never failed to observe environmental sanitation, it was a must. You need to see how the community will bring out wastes on that day. I constructed 10 lock-up shops at Imusin market, renovated the LCDA secretariat. (We have one of the best in the state.)

How about investment in farming? We invested in Ugwu market, plantain farm. We made money from both, unlike in most local governments. We supported some youths with free land for farming. I am just saying this to let you know it is the people that suffered.

Now, what are the requests of all the chairmen?

Unfortunately, we can’t turn around the time. We would like the court to pronounce that the government erred by suspending us. They should pay us all our entitlements and damages. It’s sad that we also carried the weight of suspicion for gross misconduct and misappropriation of public funds, when there was nothing like that.

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