Yinka Adeniran, Ibadan
A ray of hope of peaceful and amicable resolution appeared on Wednesday over the ongoing crisis rocking the local government administration in the Oyo state as Governor Seyi Makinde opted for an out-of-court settlement.
The Governor, of the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) had instituted a case against the 68 chairmen of the 33 local government and 35 local council development areas, all of the All Progressives Congress(APC) after sacking them on May 29, 2019 inaguration.
The sacked chairmen were elected on May 12, 2018 in an exercise that PDP boycotted on the ground that there was a court injunction against the conduct of the poll that was not vacated before the exercise.
But the APC claimed that the injunction was vacated two days to the election.
The PDP claimed further that the law that set up Oyo State Independent Electoral Commission (OYSIEC), which conducted the council poll, did not give the power to the commission to conduct election into the LCDAs, which the party said, has rendered the election illegal.
But the sacked chairmen relied on the pronouncement of the Supreme Court and a letter written to the Governor by the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN) and forcefully resumed in the 33 local government areas and 35 local council development areas of the state after Makinde had appointed caretaker chairmen for the council areas late December.
The state government has obtained an injunction from the Oyo State High Court last week, which restrained the council chairmen, Inspector General of Police, Attorney General and Minister of Justice among others from further action on the matter.
At the resumed hearing on the matter before Justice Mashud Abass, on Wednesday, counsel to the State Government, Dr. Akin Onigbinde (SAN), informed the court that government has decided to adopt out-of-court settlement for the sake of peace and would come back to the court if the strategy failed.
On his part, counsel to the defendants, Niyi Akintola (SAN) and Kunle Sobaloju, said their clients would not accept any impediment against smooth dispensation of justice.
They maintained that it would be necessary that all cases on the suspension of the council chairmen be dispensed with before the out-of-court settlement idea could work.
The presiding judge, Justice Mashud Abass, commended counsels for their disposition and cautioned all parties to ensure that peace reigns in Oyo State, assuring both parties that the judiciary would remain neutral on the matter and ensure that justice prevails.
The court adjourned the case to February 12, 2020 for the parties to report back on the level of progress on the out-of-court settlement or the continuation of the case.