The Onilegogoro secretariat of the Surulere Local Government Area of Lagos was turned into chaos and confusion on Friday, 20th June, 2014 when elected councillors of the local government allegedly led by the House Leader, Segun Ijitola, stormed the secretariat, drove out the staff in the offices of the budget department and that of the council Treasurer, locked the two offices and went away with the keys.
This would not be the first time the councillors would be acting in such unruly and illegal manner. There was a day, two of the councillors stormed the office of the council chairman, Tajudeen Ajide, broke the glasses on the louvers of his office windows, broke his glass table and had to be prevented from physically assaulting him.
The two councillors were arrested and detained then but Friday’s event was a clear indication that apparently the leadership of the ruling party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) had not taken any concrete disciplinary measures against the councillors.
The latest closure of the finance offices of the council by the councillors left the council staff in confusion. Some of the staff who were seen miling around and discussing the issue told our correspondent that the councillors did not give any reason for their action.
“But we know, it might not be unconnected with demand for money. They have a penchant for demanding for huge sums of money from the council chairman and it is when the latter refused to give in to their demand that they resort to this kind of unruly behaviour. This is not their first time. We are used to it,” one of the workers told thegazellenews.com.
Another berated the councillors for laziness and idleness. “What have they done in the last one year? Nothing! They have even refused to pass the budget which has adversely affected the running of the local government, yet they continually demand for money,” the staff said.
Another one called for immediate intervention of concerned authorities at all level both administrative and political. “If the needed authority does not act now, these councillors will one day lock out every staff of this local government and go away with the keys,” the council worker, a female told our correspondent.
Some citizens of the local government are also not finding the situation funny. They have thus appealed to leaders of the ruling All Progressives’ Congress (APC) in the state to, as a matter of urgency, intervene in the lingering crisis in the council and call the councillors who they alleged to be making governance almost impossible for the chairman, Tajudeen Ajide, to order.
They said they are more worried as the sad development has not allowed the desired development in the area, thus depriving them of reaping the expected dividends of democracy.
One of the residents who craved anonymity said “shortly after the chairman assumed office, the councillors have allegedly not allowed him to concentrate on the job he was democratically elected to perform as they have continually been making obnoxious demands and if refused, most times go to the extent of taking the law into their hands by locking out the entire workforce of the council at times for days, preventing the workers from performing their legitimate duties.
“Just recently, they locked up the council’s Revenue office, while some of them together with some supervisors even attempted a physical attack on the chairman in his office, but for the timely intervention of some workers, thereby allegedly destroying some government property in the chairman’s office.”
The septuagenarian resident added that it is no longer a hidden fact that Â lawmakers representing the area at the National Assembly and the state House of Assembly respectively are allegedly fanning the embers of crisis rocking the council by instigating the councillors against the chairman just to make governance difficult for him.
He accused party leaders in the area of complicity for their failure to find a lasting solution to the problem and tasked them to stop their what he called their ‘sidon look’ stance and call the erring councillors to order for peace to reign in the area.