Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State has mocked a faction of the Peoples Democratic Party loyal to a former governorship aspirant during the last general election, Ladi Adebutu, for boycotting the local government election in the state.

The governor said the faction of the PDP that boycotted the election did so to save face from an imminent defeat.

He spoke shortly after casting his vote at the Ita-Osanyin, ward 3, unit 2 in Iperu, Ikenne local government area of the state.

He assured that his administration would respect the autonomy of the local government and give them the necessary support to carry out their constitutional responsibilities as the third tier of government.

On Thursday, a faction of the PDP in the state announced it was boycotting the local government election in the state. On election eve, another faction of the party declared its intention to participate in the election.

Mr Abiodun said he was not aware of any party boycotting the local government election.

“I hear of a purported or supposed boycott and spoke to our team to find out exactly what was going on.

“What apparently has happened is that one or two parties are factionalised and I believe that the legitimate factions of these other parties were duly recognised by OGSIEC and what I was made to understand was that the party that was not recognised headed to the court and the case was in court until, I believe, on Thursday.

“And from what I understand, the court dismissed the suit that was challenging the OGSIEC accepting the other faction and following that, I think perhaps, to save face the faction that lost out now decided to boycott.

“You cannot be boycotting a process that you are not even a participant in, so I didn’t understand that, but really, I’m not a lawyer, I’m not speaking for OGSIEC, I’m not speaking on behalf of any party, I can only speak on behalf of my party and my administration, I believe OGSIEC has done everything within their power, within their mandate to be very transparent and to ensure that the playing field is as level as it should be for every single party that expressed desire to be part of this election.”

Mr Abiodun, who cast his vote at 11.43 a.m., promised that the local government chairmen would be given the opportunity to administer over their councils as enshrined in the constitution when they assume office.

The governor berated the former administration in the state over allegations of hijacking the local government administration and promised not to interfere in their affairs when the new administration emerges.

“My administration will ensure that the local government chairmen are given the opportunity to administer over their local government as enshrined in the constitution.

“I will not want to speak about what happened before I assumed office, but I believe that what currently obtained at the local government level is night and day compared to what happened before I assumed office and that is why you can see the evidence and the testimonials of what the local government caretaker committees have achieved in their 18 to 20 months in office because we have ensured that there is execution of projects which are funded in line with the constitution.

“We will respect the autonomy of the local government in line with what we at the Governors’ Forum have decided to do and how we decided to implement it.

“I believe that they (local government) are a tier of government that should be given a free hand to run their show, they are the closest administrative political office, they are closer to the grassroots, they are able to make that impact in the grassroots and they are much closer than any of us.

“This administration will give all the needed support to our local government councils to ensure that they function in line with the constitution.”

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