From Priscilla Ediare, Ado Ekiti

The people of Ayede Ekiti in Oye Local Government Area of Ekiti State have criticised Governor Kayode Fayemi for locating Ifesowapo Local Council Development Area (LCDA) to Isan Ekiti, the governor’s hometown, alleging the location was done as a favour to his townsfolk.

They noted that their town (Ayede-Ekiti) had all the resources to handle an LCDA.

Addressing reporters in Ado Ekiti on Monday, the President, Ayede Ekiti Progressives Union, Dr Ayo Ajayi, said the town felt belittled and degraded with the siting of the LCDA headquarters in Fayemi’s town without considering Ayede Ekiti.

Ajayi appealed to Fayemi to reconsider his position and create a new LCDA for Ayede Ekiti, clarifying that the town was not in any way asking for the removal of the one already sited at Isan Ekiti, but insisted that the governor has to be fair to the aggrieved town as a friendly neighbour.

The bill for the creation of 19 LCDAs was signed into law by Governor Fayemi on August 6, thereby raising the number of local governments in Ekiti to 35.

Reeling out the reasons Ayede Ekiti was better qualified as LCDA headquarters, Ajayi said the town was headquarters of Ayede district as far back as 1936, which had other component towns like Ijelu, Iyemero, Omo Odo, Ipao Ekiti, Itapaji, Oke Ako, Irele under it.

The spokesperson added that the town had been a centre of development and industrialisation before 1955, when a dam and Gede Farm settlement, as well as many educational institutions, were established in the town.

‘Towards the end of Fayemi’s tenure in 2014, the government put the headquarters of Ifesowapo at Bamisile land and named it Bamisile land, Isan Ekiti. The people of Ayede objected to it. Bamisile is not a town, but a piece of land in Ayede.

‘Meanwhile, Ayede Ekiti people and the majority of the towns had already agreed on the name of the LCDA as Ifesowapo and Ayede Ekiti as the headquarters through the committee set up by the monarchs in that axis when the initial idea of the new LCDAs was mooted.

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‘Ayede Ekiti is one of the three largest towns in Oye Local Government and the second-largest revenue generation town. Ayede Ekiti has historical and economic backgrounds and therefore has the legitimate right to claim to be headquarters of an LCDA where we are the principal stakeholder and largest revenue contributor.

‘The current action of relegating Ayede Ekiti into the background is quite provoking.’

When asked whether the town would resort to litigation if the demand was not met, Ajayi said: “We won’t take the government to court. We are not going to protest, carry placards or fight, but we will continue to persuade the governor to accede to our request. We are friends and we will remain that forever.

‘Ayede people are not saying they should remove the headquarters from Isan Ekiti but we deserve an LCDA. We have all it takes to handle an LCDA. Ayede had suffered a lot of humiliation. We have not been treated well in this LCDA matter,’ he stated.

Lending his voice to the issue, Chief Kayode Adetifa, the former Chairman of Oye local government in the Niyi Adebayo administration, revealed that in the 1963 census, Isan Ekiti had a population of 4,491, while Ayede had 13,363, which he said gave it a better prospect to be considered for development.

‘When Governors Niyi Adebayo and Ayodele Fayose were elected in1999 and 2003, they didn’t relocate the headquarters of Irepodun/Ifelodun to their towns. But this time, Governor Fayemi used his position to underrate Ayede Ekiti. We are not going to serve under Isan Ekiti. We will prefer to stand alone. Governor Fayemi has not been fair to us, enough is enough.

‘Putting Ayede under Isan is an abomination. Ayede had had one and a half wards since 1989 when Oye Local government was created when Isan, Ilafon and Ilemeso are still sharing a ward. But today, we have two wards.’

Dispelling the notion that the governor acted nepotistically in regard to citing Isan as the LCDA headquarters, the Commissioner for Information, Hon Akin Omole, said the processes leading to the creation of the LCDAs were fair, transparent and justiciable.

‘The process was fair and credible. Governor Fayemi did it to improve development at the grassroots. So, I appeal to the Ayede Ekiti people to write formally to the government and make their grievances known.

‘This is a democracy, constructive engagement with the government can resolve so many issues and I advise that they engage the government on this issue,’ he said.