LETTER TO MY PEOPLE IN IBARAPA CENTRAL LOCAL GOVERNMENT:
Why we missed the LCDA creation
I am propelled to write this letter by the various calls i have received from indigenes and lovers of Ibarapa central local government asking me why this local government is not among the beneficiaries of the proposed 35 new Local Government Development Areas (LCDAs) to be created in Oyo State.
Earlier in the week, Dr Gbade Ojo the Chief of Staff to Oyo State Governor announced the intention of the state government to create 35 LCDAs without mentioning the areas to be created or their headquarters. However, people have managed to get information from the grapevine on the proposed beneficiaries. This is already circulating in the social media.
I am not surprised that several people directed their calls (annoyances and even insults) at me having served two times as Chairman Caretaker Committee of this local government and as a frontline leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the local government. While some believed that I should know why this council is “short changed” others just want to attack myself, other party leaders and or my party without knowing the facts of the matter. Of particular interest are many comments on the facebook page of my brother, Prince Akintayo Akinyemi and facebook pages of other concerned patriots like Tayo where some people are insinuating that those of us leading APC in the council are weak, voiceless and ineffective at the state level.
On his facebook page, my brother justified the need for the creation of an LCDA out of Ibarapa central local government because of the size of this council vis a vis the other two local governments in Ibarapa land (Ibarapa North and Ibarapa East local governments) which are smaller in sizes and yet have LCDAs proposed for creation out of them. I am particularly impressed with historical justification and accurate figures he used to articulate the position of Igboora in the old Ibarapa Division. However, our people did not know that it is not only the size of a council that is used to determine creation of LCDA or a local government just like sizes are not the only factor used in creating States. There are other constitutional requirements.
Our people should understand that the Governor, the Party and or the House of Assembly did not just seat in Ibadan to balkanize the councils. A referendum was conducted in 2002 where every existing council was asked if they wanted a new council to be created out of them. The 35 areas that requested for new councils are having theirs created today but we in Ibarapa central voted NO to creation of a new local government. What is the blame of the government or the party in this? Do we expect them to give us what we don’t want? The present administration is just implementing an initiative started in 2002 by the administration of Governor Lam Adesina (of blessed memory). The only change the present administration is making is to name the created institutions as LCDAs instead of full-fledged local government because of constitutional impediments. If anyone is to blame, it is the leaders of a section of this local government who misled their people to vote against new council creation in 2002.
The present leaders of APC in the council were in Alliance Democracy (AD) then and we voted in support of the council creation. Chief S.O Lasunsi, Alhaji O.M Abass, Chief T. A Adenrele, Myself and the entire non partisan progressive leaders were in support of creation of a new local government.
The 1999 constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria puts the responsibility to create local governments with the state but subject to the ratification of the national assembly which has the power to list it in the federal constitution. Such created local governments will not have recognition of the federal government or benefit from federal fund allocation until the recognition of the national assembly. Hence the governors use them as LCDAs which are only as good as an agent, division or branch of the substantive local government. However, any community or body asking for the creation of local government must justify it with a petition indicating these:
(a) Define such area as clearly as practicable; and
(b) Ensure, to the extent to which it may be reasonably justifiable that in defining such area regard is paid to - (i) The common interest of the community in the area; (ii) Traditional association of the community; and (iii) Administrative convenience Constitution of federal republic of Nigeria (1999).
In 2002, we In Ibarapa central were unable to define the area of the council to be created as clearly and practicable as stated in (a) above. Hence some leaders decided to throw the baby away with the birth-water.
The same 1999 constitution states condition necessary for local government creation which was followed by the Oyo state government in 2002. These are: A bill for a Law of a House of Assembly for the purpose of creating a new local government area shall only be passed if -
(a) A request supported by at least two-thirds majority of members (representing the area demanding the creation of the new local government area) in each of the following, namely – (i) The House of Assembly in respect of the area, and (ii) The local government councils in respect of the area, is received by the House of Assembly;
(b) A proposal for the creation of the local government area is thereafter approved in a referendum by at least two-thirds majority of the people of the local government area where the demand for the proposed local government area originated;
(c) The result of the referendum is then approved by a simple majority of the members in each local government council in a majority of all the local government councils in the State; and
(d) The result of the referendum is approved by a resolution passed by two-thirds majority of members of the House of Assembly Constitution of federal republic of Nigeria 1999.).
A bill for a Law of House of Assembly for the purpose of boundary adjustment of any existing local government. Since we in Ibarapa central did not secure the 2/3rd majority of votes required at the 2002, there is no referendum result to be considered by the state to give us either a new local government or an LCDA which may turn out to be a fourth their of government in future. In fact it will be a violation of the constitution to consider us for a local government. Our initial petition to have one created has died prematurely unless the state government will be magnanimous enough to call for a fresh petition and referendum.
In 1989, the people of Igboora spoke in one voice along with other towns like Idere, Ayete, Tapa and Igangan and we were able to secure the creation of Ifeloju local government with the headquarters in Igboora. Again, we were united in our demand for the creation of Ibarapa central local government in October 1996 and we had it created easily. For over forty years all our fathers were united under Igboora Literary Progressive Union (ILPU) which was later reorganized to Igboora Progress Union (IPU) in 1990. This union strategized, planned and executed all development projects in Igboora from 1938 to 1992 when it was crippled and in fact destroyed. The IPU spearheaded the creation of both Ifeloju and Ibarapa central local governments. At the time of conducting the referendum in 2002, the IPU was divided by sectional interest, personal ego, individualism, political back bite, mutual suspicion and hatred which make it impossible for us to speak in unison in our demand for the council creation.
Other towns that have councils created now did not destroy their development unions. The same vices are responsible for the religious crisis in Igboora of today, cripple the Federation of Igboora Students Union and responsible for intra and inter political party crisis among others. Our grumbles of today, social media write ups, complain and fresh petitions are far less than 5% the weight of the referendum we missed. This is why I have always been advocating for the resuscitation of Igboora Progress Union and I have contributed tirelessly towards this. We are very fortunate to have an unbiased man, an apolitical patriot and a man of unblemished character in person of Retired Justice John Olagoke Ige coming out from his peaceful retirement to lead the community back to glory. I am sure the revived IPU under baba’s leadership will do the needful and find a solution to our self inflicted injury. As a politician and leader of my people, I am pained by this development.
I would have loved to have an LCDA created in my local government (even if it will not be viable economically) to accelerate further development but I am happy with our present situation if only it will teach us a lesson.
Mr. Akinyemi Akinlabi Email: email@example.com www.yemiakinlabi.com
Former Social Secretary, Igboora Progress Union Former Chairman, Caretaker Committee Ibarapa Central Local Government
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