Sir Charles Titiloye, KSM.
The Honourable Attorney-General of Ondo State Ondo State Ministry of Justice,
Alagbaka G.R.A Akure.
The Hon. Attorney-General,
FURORE OVER THE CREATION OF LOCAL COUNCIL DEVELOPMENT AREAS IN ONDO STATE; YOU ARE THE AUTHOR AND FINISHER OF THIS NEEDLESS CONFUSION.
I read with total disbelief, dismay and disapproval, the recent press statements credited to the Honourbale Attorney-General on the supposed need to keep the identities of the 33 Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) being created in Ondo State secret, until the law creating them is passed by the State House of Assembly and gazetted.
In the first statement reported on or about 28th July, 2023 in several
national newspapers, the Honourable Attorney-General was quoted as
saying that “The proposed 33 LCDAs will share the same equal (sic)
power and function with the existing 18 council areas once it becomes law and is fully implemented.” Strangely, the Honourable Attorney-General was only ‘benevolent’ enough to dish out the news of the proposed LCDA creation, and not the details. Different lists of the proposed LCDAs then began to circulate in our free-for-all social media space, leading to widespread confusion.
Rather than laying the confusion to rest by simply publishing the
official list of the proposed LDCAs, the Honourable Attorney-General
personally issued another press statement, stating that “To avoid the
confusion and misinformation on the creation of LCDAs, members of
the public are advised to disregard this unofficial list of LCDA(s)”,
and that “the list was not released officially by the Ondo State
I am not writing the Hon. Attorney-General simply to express shock that the State appears more interested in the proliferation of local
councils (with the attendant astronomical costs), at a time when we are advocating for the reduction in the cost of governance. Admittedly,
political jobbers may benefit from the jobs and palliatives incidental to
I am also not writing this letter because the State appears to be more
eager to shoulder the financial burdens incidental to the construction
of 33 new Local Council Secretariats for the proposed LCDAs, at a time when the Ministry of Justice is still unable to source for funds to
replace the Magistrates’ courts demolished several months ago in
Ondo State with state-of-the-art courtrooms, thus forcing His worships
to hustle for vacant high court rooms to conduct their proceedings
and sometimes even conduct same in ‘tents’.
I am propelled to write because it is totally disrespectful to our people,
and a violation of their fundamental right to freely receive information
as enshrined in Section 39 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic
of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), for their own public servants to tell
them that they are not entitled to know the local councils which are
supposedly being created for them until the whole exercise is over.
Why the secrecy? Has governance now become a ‘cult’ affair? There
must be something we do not know here.
The procedure for creating a new local government is clearly outlined
in Section 8 (3) of the 1999 Constitution as follows:
3 “S.8 (3) A bill for a Law of a House of Assembly for the purpose of
creating a new local government area shall only be passed if-
(a) a request supported by at least two-thirds majority members
(representing the area demanding the creation of the new local
government area) in each of the following, namely-
(i) the House of Assembly in respect of the area, and
(ii) the local government councils in respect of the area, is received by
the House of Assembly;
(b) a proposal for the creation of the local government area is therefore
approved in a referendum by at least two-thirds majority of the people of
the local government area where the demand for the proposed local
government area originated;
(c) the result of the referendum is then approved by a simple majority of
the members in each local government council in a majority of all the
local government councils in the State; and
(d) the result of the referendum is approved by a resolution passed by
two-thirds majority of the House of Assembly.”
From the procedure outlined in the above constitutional provisions,
even the Iyalojas in Oja Oba and Isikan Markets in Akure know that it is
4their right to be fully informed and involved in the creation of new local
councils. Although we have tactically christened the councils being
created as “Local Council Development Areas” and not “local
governments” as properly called in the Constitution, we still must
follow the spirit and letters of the Constitution in performing the
exercise. After all, the Honourable Attorney-General rightly described
the LCDA creation as a “strictly constitutional process” in the reported
This partly explains my disapproval of the Honourable Attorney-General’s unfortunate statement that the people of Ondo State have to wait till the law creating the LCDAs is passed and gazetted before knowing their identities and other details. That procedure, I submit, is unconstitutional.
The other grouse I have in this regard is a bit ‘personal’, and has to do
with our long-time ‘friendship’ and history of legal activism. Permit me
therefore, the Honourable Attorney-General, to temporarily remove the much-esteemed garb of your high revered office before going
personal. Otherwise, I may be guilty of ‘contempt’ in my choice of words, and that would be suicidal, because you are one of the very few friends I should readily call upon to take up my defense, if or when a contempt sword is drawn against me by the thousand haters of truth at my right hand, and their ten thousand allies at my left hand.
Charles, you were one of the finest advocates of accountability and
transparency in governance before your appointment as the Attorney-
General. We fought numerous similar battles in this regard. I remember how you personally sued the Ondo State Government under His Excellency, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, to explain the procedure and proceeds of the sale (or concession?) of the state-owned Owena Motel along Igbatoro Road in Akure (now turned to Shoprite).
It was about the same time I took up a case pro bono, against the same
Government on behalf of Martins Alo, a civil right activist, to demand
for the Audited Accounts of Ondo State Government from 2012 to
- We both instituted the case under the Freedom of Information
(FOI) Act. Expectedly, both cases were dismissed by the trial Court, in
my own case, on the ground that the FOI Act was not applicable to
States in Nigeria.
I do not know how your own case eventually ended, but I simply
thanked the learned trial Judge and proceeded on appeal. The Akure
Division of the Court of Appeal would later deliver a landmark judgment in the appeal (reported as MARTINS ALO V. SPEAKER, ONDO STATE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY (2018) LPELR-451439 [CA]) to the effect that the FOI is applicable to States in Nigeria, thereby
6‘overruling’ the earlier judgment of the Benin Division of the Appeal
Court in EDOSACA V. OSAKUE (2018) 16 NWLR (PT1645) 199,
wherein the Court held that the FOI was not applicable to States. The
Appeal Court equally made some fundamental remarks on the need
for governments to be transparent and accountable to the people. I
derived a lot of inspiration from you during some of those legal
If I may ask, Charles, are you now against the same principle of
transparency and accountability in governance that you fought for
before your adventure into politics?
There is a particular scripture that almost always turn me on. That is
Acts Chapter 1 verse 1, which talks about “all that Jesus began both
to do and to teach”. We must all come to a point where we do what we
preach, for this nation to move forward. Anything otherwise would be
You may be sincere in your approach, but I think you are sincerely wrong, friend. With due respect, I believe you are the author and finisher of the ongoing furore and confusion over the creation of LCDAs in Ondo State. Now back in your official garb, please. By virtue of your highly revered office, dear Sir, you must not only protect and preserve the sanctity of the law, but also properly advise the government to do so. We must do things the right way.
I therefore call on the State Government, through the Honourable
Attorney-General, to first publish the list of the proposed 33 LCDAs
and their Headquarters, and then follow the procedure for creating
new local government(s) meticulously outlined in S.8 (3) of the 1999
Constitution quoted above.
I am not unaware that some political parties in the State are rightly or
wrongly opposed to the creation of the LCDAs, perhaps for some different political reasons. I am not a politician. I am an Apostle of constitutionalism. However, if the creation of new LCDAs is simply part of the upcoming local government election politics, the Government seriously needs to first count the cost.
In my own personal opinion, the government of Arakunrin Rotimi
Akeredolu SAN has done fantastically well in terms of infrastructure,
security, workers’ welfare and genuine sub-regional and national integration, to the admiration of the people of Ondo State, and does not need to embark on the unsustainable proliferation of local councils at this trying economic times, just to win local government elections, as some people are insinuating. However, if the LCDAs must be, let them be according to the law.
Please accept my highest regards.
Femi Emmanuel Emodamori.
Cc: The Right Honourable Speaker Ondo State House of Assembly.
State House of Assembly Complex Alagbaka G.R.A, Akure.