Oyo State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has declared that the main opposition party in the state, the All Progressives Congress (APC), requires training in democratic governance.
The PDP, which was reacting to calls for the intervention of President Muhammadu Buhari and the National Assembly in the dissolution of local governments in the state, said that APC’s abysmally poor knowledge about democratic processes and procedures amount to a great disservice to the teeming population of Nigerians who fought tooth and nail to send the military men back to the barracks in 1999.
A statement by the Oyo State Publicity Secretary of PDP, Akeem Olatunji, maintained that the APC needed to be educated on constitutional procedures as far as Nigeria’s 1999 Constitution (as amended) is concerned.
The party said: “It is appalling that a party that has led this state, the Pacesetter State for good eight years, could still harbour undemocratic tenets, such that it could be calling for invocation of extra-constitutional means for the resolution of issues relating to the management of Local Government Councils in the state.
“Initially, we thought that such an idea would only be bandied by the sacked council chairmen, who were blinded by unbridled ambition. We were, however, shocked to see the APC regurgitating a similar idea earlier circulated by the illegal council chairmen.
“Let us freely offer the APC the advice they really deserve. The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) clearly guarantees the democratic system of governance in the local governments. The same constitution also enables the Houses of Assembly of the States to make laws for the administration of local governments, while also guaranteeing the establishment of joint State and Local government accounts.”
The PDP wondered why the APC, which only conducted election into the local governments in the seventh year of its eight-year reign in Oyo State is now playing to the gallery on constitutionality, querying why the party did not remember the Presidency, the National Assembly and the Rule of Law when it recycling caretaker committees as heads of the local councils.
“We need to remind the APC in Oyo State that the election that brought in the so-called members of the Association of Local Government of Nigeria(ALGON), whom it is now fighting for, was only conducted in the seventh year of the tenure and the election was against all known tenets of democracy and the Rule of Law.
“We are aware that the said council election that was conducted by former Governor Abiola Ajimobi was held in defiance of injunctions of the courts. We are also aware that the said election was held into 68 local governments and Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs), a clear affront on the Constitution of Nigeria, 1999, which recognises only 33 local governments in Oyo State.
“Even President Muhammadu Buhari, the 109 Senators and the 360 members of the House of Representatives who are being called upon by the APC to hop on the train of illegality know more than the leaders of Oyo APC that the Constitution remains supreme,” the statement further said.
The PDP stated that but for Governor Makinde’s decision to end the illegality foisted upon the State by the immediate past APC government, the malaise would have continued, saying: “The decision of the Governor of Oyo State, Engineer Seyi Makinde, to terminate the illegal tenure of the ALGON members in the councils can only be likened to medical personnel applying the much-needed medication to an ailing patient.
“The situation as regards the management of the councils by the APC prior to the assumption of office by Engineer Makinde was tantamount to serial violation of the Nigerian Constitution, only the actions taken by Governor Makinde could have cured the degenerating situation.”