There are stages in every public discuss when silence is no longer golden. I have watched with disdain the unhealthy propaganda and misinterpretation about the developmental project of Ilorin West Local Government in Ipata Oloje market, Ilorin, by the auto spare parts dealers.
Having done the needful on proper consultations and deliberations on the above subject matter, I’ve found it worthy to make the position of the council clear on the lingering issue to avoid misinformation of the public by the traders.
Few months ago, at the inception of my administration in Ilorin West Local Government, my attention was drawn to the encroachment of the council land by the Nigerian Postal Service, which we were able to sort out legally at the instance of the Police Commissioner, traditional rulers and other relevant stakeholders. Whereas; the same land in question was handed off by NIPOST and the council resolved to utilize the land for development to avoid reoccurrence of any encroachment whatsoever.
After the council’s resolution to build shops on the land, auto spare parts dealers in Ipata oloje insinuated that the local government was attempting to displace them by constructing shops on the land and relocate them from the market which I personally debunked with a publication on a national daily, where I allayed their fears over rumoured relocation.
Cull from the publication reads: “I am not building shops at the Ipata Oloje motor spare parts market, but I want to build shops on the local government land that is not rented out to the traders.
“For clarity, we have the motor spare parts market fenced in Ipata oloje, so I’m not going inside that fence to build shops neither am I going to chase traders away from their shops or increase their rent.
“Where I want to develop is the local government’s unused land that is being used as dump site. We want to construct shops there because we want to generate revenue for the local government.
“The shops would be built to boost revenue generation to grow our financial status.
“Everyone demands development, not considering the fact that development do not come without a price. We are not competing with the citizens but sacrifices must be made by all parties to achieve a common goal.”
I have it on good ground, the record of our meetings with the traders and the mutual agreement we both had to foster peace in the market at initial stage of the proposed project. I thereafter watched with perplexity the outburst of the traders in the public domain contrary to our mutual ground and I absorbed the verbal humiliations as a price for leadership. Notwithstanding, we sorted for a date to dialogue over again. After a date has been fixed for meeting, the traders refused to turn up. I was left with only one option; legal action! I directed the council’s legal officer to serve them a notice to quit the portion of the land which is primarily used for dumping of scraps and refuse.
It is worthy to note that the particular space we are talking about has been a dumping ground for several years, which had in the past cost the local government over seven million naira to evacuate. Hence, the need to put the place into use for developmental project which is in no way having negative effect on the traders except for those with mischievous aims, who have been hiding under the guise of this issue to disrupt the harmonious relationship between the government and the traders of the market.
It is not of me to stoop low or dignify anyone with an undue response, but the record must be set straight to shed light on the matter for the general public who must have seen or heard about the incident.
Information at my disposal confirmed to me that some miscreants would want to hide under this issue to cause public chaos and unrest. While some political opposition are using this as an avenue to score unpopular point which we have been resisting diplomatically.
I have listened to the media and I have received series of text messages, calling my attention to the fallacious and malicious rumour making the round that there is an underground and undisclosed permutations going on to sell off the land at the Ipata Oloje market.
I have equally heard with amusement the statements credited to some ‘elements’ in the local government who are hellbent on destroying the progress of the developmental propelling wheel of Ilorin West by their verbal defamations and character assassinations.
I do not intend to immerse myself in the politics of zero-sum game that some people believe. I am a public officer, elected by the people to serve the people. Practically, this project is not a self serving, I do not embark on this project for personal aggrandizement but a futuristic project which unborn generations would appreciates its legacy.
I urge our beloved traders to align themselves with globally acceptable best practices in democratic governance where people are usually circumspect in their choice of words while engaging their fellows.
If those who are alleging me and the local government to have had an anti-people policy truly meant well, they should have realised that it will look snippy, truculent and unhealthy in the court of public opinion if I am seen to be joining issues with them.
The statement by these agents of destabilization and rumour peddlers was unfortunately pugnacious in context, pettifogger in tone and tenor and supercilious at best.
I therefore wish to alert well meaning Ilorites and the general public to disregard any disparaging misinformation on the media, that at no time were any move made by the council to sell the land in auto spare parts market at Ipata Oloje. Therefore, the unfounded rumour should be discarded as it has no basis.
We are poised to increase the revenue base of the council but it would certainly not be through illegality or at public detriment. My administration is committed to its urban renewal programme, I would continue to remove shanties and turn it to treasure base, for the council to move greater than we met it.
I do not think there is any pain we’ve intentionally and unintentionally inflicted on the traders after several meeting notices, reorientations and awareness campaigns had been carried out to sensitise them on the need to comply with government’s directives.
I advice our traders to stop living in the past and join hands with the government to move the council forward.
It can always be better if we all play our parts positively devoid of slandering and mischiefs. While I assure all parties of my unwavering cooperation.
Aminat Aromoke Omodara
Executive Chairman, Ilorin West Local Government.