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Opposition Flay Mimiko Over Delayed Council Poll




FOR seven years, Ondo State Governor, Olusegun Mimiko has denied the people of the state the opportunity to elect their leaders at the local government level, as guaranteed by the country’s constitution.

The swearing-in of the fourth batch of Caretaker committee members, early this month, to oversee the affairs of the council foreclosed the likelihood of the council poll before the expiration of his second term.

The governor is laying claim to a court in junction, which he said has incapacitated his administration from conducting the poll.

It could be recalled that Mimiko sacked all the council chairmen elected in the December 15, 2007 controversial election by his predecessor upon assuming office on February 23, 2009, the injunction sought to restrain Dr. Olusegun Agagu from conducting the election, resulted in a protracted legal tussle since then.

Now opposition parties are condemning his continual use of caretaker, describing it as a way of creating untold hardship for the people at the third tier of government.

The State Chairman of All Progressive Congress (APC), Isaac Kekemeke, though agreed the litigation in court served as an obstacle, remarked that the governor is only cashing on the excuse to save himself and party from defeat at the poll.

Kekemeke, who was a member of late Agagu’s cabinet as commissioner and Secretary to the State Government together with Mimiko, said the present administration is not ready to conduct election, but prefers to impose its stooges and puppets across the councils as caretaker chairmen.

He accused Mimiko of impunity against the wishes of the people, describing him as ‘Emperor’ that satisfies his whims and caprices at the expense of the masses.

Eniola Onuwaje, a former Labour Party (LP) leader in Ilaje local government area, who also faulted the litigation excuse, said the case was formerly between PDP and LP, but now that Mimiko is in PDP, he believes that the case could be settled out of court if the governor really wants to conduct the election.

The National President of Making A Difference (MAD), a non-governmental organisation in Akure South local government, Tony Joy said the issue is an express breach of the rights of the people and deprivation of the masses to decide those who will shoulder their responsibilities and represent their various interests at the local level.

But the Chief Press Secretary to Mimiko, Eni Akinsola, in a telephone conversation, noted that the state government is committed to bringing the dividends of democracy to the grassroots and give the people equal opportunity through the ballot.

He said Mimiko has made several efforts since 2009, but was incapacitated by the case in court.

Akinsola referred to the public declaration made by the governor during the presentation of the 2015 Budget at the State House of Assembly, where he pledged to conduct the election this month, but the council chairmen’s injunction restrained him from fulfilling the promise, and he decided to dissolve the caretaker committee and appoint new one.

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