By Balkis Tijani.
The suspended chairmen of the 16 local government councils in Kwara State have withdrawn the case challenging their suspension by Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, who acted on the June 18, recommendation of the State House of Assembly to suspend them over alleged misappropriation and diversion of council funds.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had earlier criticized Governor Abdulrazaq for allegedly pressuring the council chairmen to withdraw the case, with a promise to allow them retain their position.
However, in a statement signed by the state chairman of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON), Hon. Joshua Omokanye, the council chairmen refuted the assertion of the state PDP chairman, stressing that they withdrew the case willingly in furtherance of their objective to clear their names by honouring the invitation extended to them by the State Assembly.
“We the Local Government Council Chairmen in Kwara state dissociate ourselves from the statement that emanated from the Office of the State Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, that we were pressurized to sign off our legal case with Kwara State Government.
“We state categorically that we were not forced and not under any parochial sentiment to withdraw the suit against the state governor and others.
“It is pertinent to reiterate our position that we considered it expedient to withdraw the case willingly and it was done to enable us clear our names by honouring the invitation extended to us by the Kwara State House of Assembly.
“It must also be noted that the Kwara State House of Assembly is the arm of government that has the constitutional responsibility to invite Local Government Council Chairmen for questioning.
“We cannot afford to decline the invitation because it is not advisable to throw away the baby with the bath water. The action was voluntarily taken to ensure a diplomatic solution to the suspension impasse for the overall benefit of the good people of the state.
“It is also important to state without mincing words that our case is premise on opportunity offered to clear our names which will subsequently promote speedy socio-economic progress of the state”, the statement said.
In a veiled reference to the former Senate President, Abubakar Bukola Saraki, the chairmen advised the public not to link their decision to discontinue litigation on the case as a betrayal of a political leader, since no one influenced their decision to use legal means in the first place.
“It will be reasonable for people to desist from linking the development with perceived betrayal of a political leader because no one influenced our decision to use legal means in the first instance.
“It would be recalled that when a similar case was recorded in Ekiti state, there were opportunities created for addressing the state legislative arm during the impasse and resolution was reached for the good of the state”, the statement added.