Oyo State Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Dr. Wasiu Olatunbosun, yesterday, said the purported May 12, 2018 local council election was a nullity. He disclosed that the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidates did not obtain forms to contest.
Speaking on a radio programme monitored in Ibadan, Olatunbosun revealed that no document in the custody of the State Independent Electoral Commission (OYSIEC) showed that any form was purchased by the candidates of the erstwhile ruling party, while interested candidates from opposition parties were also barred from doing so.
However, Mr. Bolaji Tunji, who was the Media Adviser to Governor Abiola Ajimobi, faulted the assertion, urging the current administration to focus on governance.
It would be recalled that the Appeal Court sitting in Ibadan, recently affirmed the sack of former council chiefs by Governor Seyi Makinde’s administration.
The suit was instituted by the Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON) in Oyo State against their dissolution by the present administration.
Olatunbosun was also one of Senator Ajimobi’s close political allies before the game turned sour. He was local government caretaker chairman for years during Ajimobi’s tenure.
Olatunbosun said: “It was clear from the beginning that the exercise was a charade. They went ahead to waste the state resources. No APC candidate obtained form and the opposition was not allowed to obtain as well…
“We were all aware of the outcry from their own party chieftains, like former Minister of Communication, Bayo Shittu, Accord Party and Socialist Party of Nigeria, among others, against the activities that came before and during election…”
He assured that the present administration has been putting in the right process to conduct local council election without delay, unlike the last administration, which conducted the election at the twilight of its tenure.
The Commissioner hinted that although no date has been set for the election, the institution of members of the OYSIEC board indicated that work was ongoing, and that it would have the input of stakeholders, especially opposition parties.
Olatunbosun assured of the readiness of the Seyi Makinde-led administration to probe the allegations.
He said there were documents in possession of the state, which the anti-graft body would work on to unearth many shoddy deals made by the last administration, which had what he called colossal effect on the state finances.
“Whenever the anti-graft body commences work and documents that show monumental fraudulent practices by the last administration is presented to them for investigation, the people will be confounded, as some people have used Oyo State resources that belonged to the vast majority to promote personal glory and interests,” Olatubosun said, adding that the state’s free education policy was due to promises made during the campaign period and the realisation that Oyo State was among the eight States declared by Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) that had the highest number of out-of-school children in the country.
He said the administration would not back out of the programme, despite opposition from some quarters calling for reintroduction of the N1000 levy for students in public schools.
Reacting, Tunji said: “It is not necessary to continue bandying words with this administration. It is rather unfortunate that we play politics of bitterness in our country. Just because the administration is politically different from the previous one, you continue to look for fault. I think the administration should focus on why they were elected, which is to provide good governance and let the people enjoy the dividends of democracy. The people are yet to see this, all we are seeing is borrowing all over the place, which is putting the State in a debtor’s hole.
“In any case, the commissioner that is quoted here was part of that administration for about five years, as a Council chairman. He did not see anything wrong then, until he was removed for others. Also, the hallmark of the present administration has always been falsehood and propaganda. We have seen several instances – indebtedness of the state, which was found to be false. The Circular Road and Moniya-Iseyin Road projects are examples that readily come to mind in the latest series of such falsehoods