The people of Ijero Ekiti, Ijero Local Government Area of Ekiti State, yesterday defied the early morning torrential downpour by trooping out en masse to protest against the state government for rebuffing the creation of Ijero Municipal Local Council Development Authority (LCDA) for the town
This came barely 48 hours after the people of Ilasa Ekiti in Ekiti East Local Government Area staged a protest against the (Fayemi) relocating of the Ekiti East LCDA’s headquarters from the town to Isaya Ekiti.
The barrage of agitations came to fore as Governor Kayode Fayemi, last week, assented to the new Local Council Development Authority (LCDA) Law, thereby creating 19 LCDAs across the state to drive development at the grassroots.
As early as 7am, Ijero Ekiti became tense on Tuesday, as protesters bore placards with various inscriptions and marched round the town to show their resentment about the inability of the government to create Ijero Municipal LCDA.
The visibly angry protesters said this further signposted that the town was being marginalised despite being one of the oldest local governments in the state.
One of the leaders and proponents of Ijero Municipal Agenda, Mr. Ayo Awe, who addressed the protesters, contended that what sparked up the agitation was the fact that the state government created Irewolede and Irede LCDAs with the headquarters at Iloro and Ipoti-Ekiti respectively and still went ahead to establish an administrative centre at Ikoro-Ekiti under the Ijero Local Government.
Awe said it was repugnant and unresponsive for the state government to have turned down agitation for the establishment of Ijero Municipal LCDA with four wards, when lesser and smaller towns were given such privileges.
“Ijero Local Government Area created in 1976, is one of the 17 local government areas of the Old Ondo State and eight of the LGAs inherited by Ekiti state in 1996 when the state was created.
“In 1996, other LGAs had to be delineated to make up for the statutory and constitutional 16 LGAs status of Ekiti state at inception with the exception of Ijero Local government.
“We have suffered decades of political marginalisation in the Ekiti geopolitical configuration. We are appealing to Dr Kayode Fayemi’s administration to correct this political anomaly being experienced by the good people of Ijero Ekiti”, he said.
Another convener of the group, Mr. Femi Alufa, said the creation of two LCDAs and an administrative centre from the existing Ijero Ekiti local government without a LCDA for the town ,has weakened and abraded the town’s influence in the council that was hitherto named after it.
Alufa added: “What we want in Ijero-Ekiti is an autonomous LCDA with the name Ijero Municipal LCDA. Turning down the offer further attested to the agelong marginalisation being suffered by our people.
“Other local governments established in the Old Ondo State had been delineated and now have two or more council areas with many LCDAs, why is Ijero being sidelined?”
Other stakeholders under the umbrellas of Ijero Development Association (IDA), Concerned Youths of Ijero-Ekiti, Federation of Ijero Student’s Union (FISU), Ijero Road Transport Union and the Market Men and Women Association, also participated in the protest.