The public hearing held on Thursday by the Ondo State House of Assembly on the bill for the creation of 33 Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) was met with a rowdy session following a shouting match that ensued among the people of Akure South Local Council of the state.
The public hearing faced a potential disruption when some persons alleged to be from the camp of the Deji of Akure attempted to prevent the Iralepo of Isikan, Oba Olugbenga Ojo, from delivering his presentation advocating for the creation of Isikan LCDA.
However, the Speaker of the Assembly, Olamide Oladiji, came to the rescue of the monarch following his intervention to allow the monarch to present his memorandum.
In his presentation, the traditional ruler expressed hope that the people of Isikan currently in Akure South Local Council would unite in their desire for the alteration of the proposed Akure West LCDA to Isikan LCDA.
Also, at the venue of the public hearing, Ijaws in the Ese-Odo local government area of Ondo State issued a 21-day ultimatum to the state government to revert the ceding of their land to Irele and Ilaje local government areas in the proposed LCDAs.
The protesting Ijaws led by their traditional rulers, Prof. Sunday Amuseghan, the Kalasuwei of Apoi land, and Pere Zaccheaus Doubra Egbunu, the Agadagba of Arogbo-Ijaw, disclosed that the whole of Okparama 1 and II and Ogidigba were ceded to Ilaje, while parts of Apoi 4 and 5 were ceded to Irele Local Council.
Armed with placards, the protesters emphasised that more LCDAs should be created out of Ese-Odo Local Government instead of ceding their land to other council areas.
While vowing to defend any action that will lead to the ceding of their ancestral land, the Kalasuwei of Apoi land said, “We will never concede one inch of our land to either Ikales or Ilajes. There is a new Ondo State map that cedes our communities to Ilaje and Irele. Whether through or not, the government of Ondo State must withdraw that map with immediate effect.
“We are peace-loving people; we want to live in peace with other nationalities in Nigeria, and we pray they too should consider this and live in peace with us.
Pere Egbunu, who was represented by Ondo Chairman, Ijaw National Congress, Bonsuwei Ominidouha, said, “We are giving them a 21-day ultimatum to withdraw that map. We don’t want to fight with anybody because it was a failure of leadership the other time that caused the Ijaw-Ilaje crisis.
“We don’t want that one to repeat itself, therefore we are calling on the Ondo State government and even our neighbours that nobody should try it because Ijaw man will never agree for anybody.”
Meanwhile, the speaker warned that the state government would not hesitate to cancel the creation of any LCDA in any community where there is a crisis or court injunction.
“In whatever we do today, we should be mindful of the fact that we do it in the eyes of the global community.
“Thus, let me state without mincing words that the Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu-led administration in Ondo State will not hesitate to cancel or suspend the creation of Local Council Development Areas in any community or Local Government area where there is a crisis or court injunction.
“To be forewarned is to be forearmed, and to say anything less than the foregoing is to distort reality.”