The Ekiti state government on Monday set machinery in motion to implement the Supreme Court’s judgement which relocated the headquarters of Ilejemeje local government from Iye Ekiti to Eda Oniyo.
This is coming more than 10 months after the Apex Court ordered the government to immediately restore the headquarters of the local government to Eda-Oniyo from where it was relocated to Iye-Ekiti shortly after the state was created on October 1, 1996.
Following the pronouncement of Iye Ekiti the headquarters against Eda Oniyo that was contained in the federal government’s gazette, the Eda Oniyo people had gone to court to contest what they described as “politically motivated relocation” of the headquarters by the then military governor, Col. Inua Mohammed Bawa.
But the Supreme Court had in a unanimous judgment delivered by Justice Bode Rhodes-Vivour on 14th December, 2018 ordered the relocation of Ilejemeje council headquarters from Iye to Eda Oniyo ending a 19-year battle which began at the State High Court.
The apex court held that the relocation of the headquarters of the Local Government to Iye-Ekiti was null and void, noting it wasn’t backed by statute.
Addressing a press conference in Ado Ekiti on Monday, the Ekiti State Deputy Governor, Chief Bisi Egbeyemi, said the government has no option than to align with the Apex Court’s decision.
Egbeyemi said decision was taken following the advice of the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Wale Fapohunda and the report of a fact finding committee, which advised that by virtue of the supreme Court’s pronouncement, that it will be “illegal , irregular, unconstitutional, null and void”, to recognize Iye Ekiti, as the headquarters of the council.
He said sequel to the judicial decision, the government proclaimed that “the decision of the Supreme Court, the highest court in the land is sacrosanct and inviolable and is binding on the government.
“That by virtue of the judgement, Eda Oniyo is the only legally recognised headquarters of Ilejemeje local government.
“That the headquarters of Ilejemeje local government and its machinery are hereby relocated by Ekiti State Government from Iye Ekiti to Eda Oniyo Ekiti”.
The Deputy Governor said by virtue of the pronouncement, all government departments, institutions, organisations, public functionaries, corporate bodies and others are expected to cooperate with government to facilitate smooth relocation.
The Deputy Governor directed the Chairman of the council, Hon Sunday Awolola and the commissioner for local government, Prof Adio Folayan to prepare a schedule for the relocation of the council to the new town.
The Eleda of Eda Oniyo Ekiti, Oba Julius Awolola, applauded the government for relocating the council to his domain and for obeying the judgement of the court.
“I want to appeal to my people not to be over joyous. They should maintain peace. We have not fought for 23 years. The day they even took it forcefully, we did not fight. We appreciate the government for this gesture”
The Chairman of the Council, Hon. Sunday Awolola appealed to people of the two towns to be peaceful and be law abiding, saying adequate security will be provided by the government to avert unnecessary communal clash.