An agrarian community in Ondo State, Ode Aye, on Monday protested over sitting of headquarters of the Ikale North Local Council Development Area in Ilutuntun instead of Ode Aye, saying that Ode Aye had all resources to be the headquarters.
The protesters, who blocked the entrance of the state House of Assembly, carried platforms with different inscriptions such as: “ Ode Aye Can never be Under Igbotako”, “ Avoid Political Brouhaha Between Okitipupa Constituency I and Constituency 2”, and “ We Reject Ikale North LCDA with Igbotako as Headquarters.”
Others are: “ It is an Improper Fraction to Put Igbotako over Ode Aye. We are more in numbers”, “ Allow Peace to Continue to Reign, Create Ikale North LCDA with Headquarters at Ode Aye.”
Speaking to newsmen during the protest, Chief Isaac Omogoroye, said that it was an aberration for the newly created LCDA of Ikale North not to be sited at Ode Aye.
“ We thank Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu for creating some 33 LCDA. We, from Ode Aye Kingdom, Constituency 2 presented a paper for Ikale North LCDA with headquarters at Ode Aye. And our paper was well documented and accepted by the state House of Assembly and the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters.
“ Last week, when the creation of LCDA was approved by the State Executive Council ( SEC) and we heard that the headquarters of Ikale North LCDA is Igbotako which is in Constituency 1. That our request, which is Ikale North LCDA was approved but the headquarters was changed.
“ And that is why we are here, to inform the Speaker and other honourable members in the House of Assembly that we, vehemently, reject approval of the headquarters to Igbotako. We are demanding that the government must revert the decision because we requested for the Ikale North,” he said.
According to him, the community has been asking for the Ikale North LCDA for the past 25 years, adding that the LCDA headquarters would be best sited in Ode Aye considering its enormous contributions and resources.
Also speaking, Chief Sunday Megbontowon stated that the protest was meant to bear the community’s grievance about the sitting of the Ikale LCDA headquarters in Igbotako.
Megbontowon said that there was clandestine arrangement by some people in the government to merge Igbotako with Ode Aye, adding that the merger would not work because the two communities were not in the same constituency.
“ Igbotako, Ilutuntun and others are in Constituency 1 while Ode Aye, Okitipupa and the rest are in Constituency 2 . That is the constitution. I don’t know how they could merge Igbotako and Ode Aye together. There is going to be lacuna during election because we are in Constituency 2.
“ We have two people representing the two constituencies in Okitipupa Local Government Area in the state House of Assembly. Somebody like me from Ode Aye now, how will I fill my form for elective position? This is a constitutional matter.
“ What we are saying in essence is that Ode Aye requested for Ikale North LCDA but Igbotako that was given this approval never requested for it. We learnt that some people have been rejoicing and we don’t know what will happen. They want to use political influence and sideline Ode Aye,” he stated.
According to him, Ode Aye has the second largest population in the Okitipupa Local Government Area.
“ They are giving both Ilutuntun and Igbotako LCDA headquarters, this is a sham. They are just about 200 metres apart. We don’t want crisis in our place and that is why we are here, “ he said.
Sir Soji Aguda, an elder in the community, said that it was disheartening and illogical to have merged Ode Aye, a community with 200 villages with more than six secondary schools and other resources with Igbotako which has just one community.
Responding to the protest, Hon. Ololade Gbegudu, a member representing Okitipupa Constituency 2 in the state House of Assembly, promised that the parliament would look into all the grievances by the protesters.
Gbegudu, who spoke on behalf of the Speaker of the House of Assembly, Olamide Oladiji, said that there would still be public hearing on the creation of all 33 LCDAs where merits would be considered.