Former Lagos state governor and national leader of the All Progressives Congress, ( APC) Bola Tinubu has said that he was determined to frustrate the presidential ambition of Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP) presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar over the role he claimed the latter played in withholding Lagos state council allocation during the Chief Olusegun Obasanjo administration. The PDP presidential candidate was the vice-president to Chief Obasanjo between 1999-2007.
Tribune Online findings revealed that the federal government under Chief Obasanjo administration had withheld the monthly statutory allocations meant for the 20 local councils in Lagos state, following the creation of additional Local Council Development Areas, (LCDA) by the Bola Tinubu administration without recourse to the National Assembly.
Further findings revealed that Chief Obasanjo had in a circular directed the Federal Ministry of Finance to suspend the disbursement of funds from the Federation Account to all the newly created local councils in the country.
But the Supreme Court, following the suit instituted by the Lagos State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Professor Yemi Osinbajo overruled the federal government as the apex court declared that the Obasanjo administration had no constitutional power to withhold funds for local councils or tamper with the Federation Account.
The court, however, added that though Lagos State had the constitutional power to create new councils, “there is still one more step or hurdle to be taken or crossed by the National Assembly for the plaintiff (Lagos State) to actualise the creation of the new local councils.”
Further findings revealed that the then Chief Justice of Nigeria, Muhammadu Uwais who gave the lead judgement, which was unanimously endorsed, over-ruled the creation of new local councils by the Lagos State House of Assembly without consequential legislation by the National Assembly.
It consequently ordered the disbursement of funds to the 20 local councils of Lagos State recognized by the constitution.
But speaking with newsmen during a visit to his Asokoro residence in Abuja by certain south-west traditional rulers, Bola Tinubu who vowed to take his pound of flesh from the former vice-president accused Atiku Abubakar of indifference to the plight of Lagos state when the latter was approached for his intercession.
He said: “Atiku was Vice President of this country when the local government allocation for Lagos state was seized. When we led a protest to Atiku then, he said, “go away! Go and comply!!
“Without those allocations, you cannot bring Development. When we said we needed power to power Lagos and the industrial base in our region, they said no. They were taking away N250 million from our allocation every month for being innovative and creative. Everywhere we turn, they rejected us and punished us. But we never gave up. Today, we are in that progressive development championed and led by President Muhammadu Buhari. Thank you for not looking back. Thank you for visiting and encouraging him.”
On the visit of the traditional rulers, the national leader of the APC thanked them for their support and concern for free, fair and peaceful electoral process.
“The royal fathers spoke of the need for a peaceful election. When you have the belief that you can get a proper result, you work hard because you want peace. When you believe that you can win, you don’t want violence. We all love our children, our brothers and our followers and none of us would want our followers to become sacrificial lambs. We won’t encourage violent disruption of any election because we are confident of winning. Those who are crying wolf before the election has already accepted defeat before the election as far as I am concerned.”
The Ooni of Ife, Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, who led the other traditional rulers to Tinubu’s residence said the traditional rulers’ main concern was peaceful coexistence among Nigerians during, and after the election.
He said: “My message to Nigerians in this time of election is peace, peace and peaceful coexistence all the way. The power of every Nigerian and every electorate lies in the thumb. As traditional rulers, we are the father to all and in playing that role, we pray that there should be peace in this country. That is what we are preaching and it is very important to all of us to know that Nigeria is greater than any of us. So, we should continue to preach peace and identify with good things that will be beneficial to the nation. That is why we are here.”
Others on the entourage were the Alake of Egbaland, Adedotu Aremu Gbadebo, Alaremore of Ido Osun, Oba Adedapo Aderemi and the Oloye of Oye, Ekiti, Michael Ademolaju.
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