CNPP, LP Task Aregbesola On Council Poll



THE failure of the Osun State Governor, Rauf Aregbesola to conduct elections in the 33 Local Government Areas of the state in the last five years is generating criticism from opposition parties.

Though the governor’s party, All Progressives Congress (APC) blamed the delay on the court case filed against the dissolved Osun State Independent Electoral Commission (OSIEC), it was expected that as soon as he assumed office for his second term, there would be signs to hold the elections.

Now, opposition parties in the state have raised alarm over the governor’s lackadaisical attitude towards the conduct of the poll, coupled with the cash crunch that had hit the state.

The Chairman of Labour Party, Barrister Tunde Olatunji, described Aregbesola’s action as undemocratic and unconstitutional. He noted that it is unfortunate that since the governor came on board council polls have not been conducted; adding that till date, there is no preparation towards that direction.

“Even when Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was there, Olagunsoye Oyinlola made sure that during his two terms, elections were conducted. But since Aregbesola came on board we have not had any, the reason is simple, those people that were appointed by him don’t have any say, which made it possible for him to run the local government administration the way he likes. He had succeeded in taking funds meant for the local governments, which wouldn’t have been possible if there was election.”

He noted that they are making efforts to compel government to conduct the poll, but that they are battling with the lingering issue of the non-payment of workers’ salaries. “What we are trying to avoid is having several things in our hands at the same time, we are waiting to settle the issue of payment of workers, but immediately that one is clear if it requires us going to court, we would do that this time around. The next four years wont be like the last four years.”

The state chapter of Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP) said it is unfortunate that the people of the state found themselves in this situation, as one of the tiers of government has been paralysed.

Chairman of CNPP, Pastor Popoola Olatunji, who doubles as the chairman of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) lamented the governor’s refusal to conduct the poll, saying it is due to his determination to hold on to the money entitled to the council areas.

“What we are witnessing is the same thing we are experiencing at the state level. The councils too have been having difficulty in paying salaries. He has not released their monies to them. What he released was the SURE-P; the monthly allocation is yet to be released to them. He is the only one holding on to the money, that is why they are having problem. The implication is that as we have problem at the state level, there is problem at the councils, and people are not happy with it.”

He warned that if the governor fails to act on time, the local government administration in the state would be in shambles in the next four years. “He appointed some people he called Executive Secretaries, which is alien to us and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. He is doing many things with impunity, if he continues like this for the next four years; it would be difficult for one to know what is going on at the council level.

Olatunji said the CNPP would do its best to compel the governor to conduct the poll, adding that it would mobilise the people and let them know that APC that is shouting of change is not bringing the needed change to the masses.

The Senior Special Adviser to Aregbesola on General Matters, Fola Olajoku promised to speak on the issue later, but never did at the time of filing this report.

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