Yinka Adeniran, Ibadan
A source close to Governor Seyi Makinde yesterday gave the reasons behind the revocation of landed property belonging to the immediate past Governor Abiola Ajimobi, his former deputy, Moses Alake Adeyemo, a former Secretary to Oyo State Government, Mr Olalekan Alli, a former governor of Osun State, Chief Bisi Akande and a younger brother of ex-governor Ajimobi, Mr Adelodun Ajimobi.
Governor Seyi Makinde led Peoples Democratic Party government had on Thursday announced the revocation of some parcels of land within the Agodi Government Reservation Areas (GRA) and Jericho area of Ibadan, the state capital.
The revocation order read in part: “Notice is hereby given to members of the public that by virtue of powers conferred on the Governor of Oyo State under the provisions of Section 28, of the Land Use Act, Cap LS, No. 18 of the Law of Federation of Nigeria, 2004, the under listed plots of land located within the Agodi Government Reservation Area in Ibadan are hereby revoked by the Oyo State Government for overriding public interest absolutely and in particular for the use of the State Government.”
But shortly after the order was made public, ex-governor Ajimobi, headed for the courts seeking to stop the said order and asking for N15million as cost of action.
The former governor has also accused the Makinde administration of what he described as incompetence and intellectual laziness in verifying information, saying that accounts for the reason the government have continued to reverse itself on different policies within its nine months in charge of the state.
However, the top government source who spoke on the condition of anonymity gave the reasons behind the revocation order.
The source said “The government had carried out thorough investigations the lands in question and found out that of the nine revoked plots of land, Senator Ajimobi personally owned four, one is owned by a company said to be linked to him, while other individuals are credited with ownership of the four others.
“Indeed, the plots credited to Ajimobi as contained in the records at the State’s Land Registry indicate that besides the original plots of land acquired by the former Governor, he was said to have strangely added two more plots, one Housing the Protocol Offices of the State and another chalet that served the Governors of the state since the pre-independence days.
“Ajimobi was credited with Quarter 361, 361(B) and 361( C) (quarters B and C are the two other Government Quarters adjoining 361, with one of them housing Protocol officers of government); Quarters 371 and 372, while Plot 138 Magazine Road, Jericho, Ibadan was said to have been allocated to a company linked to him.
“Following Ajimobi’s acquisition of Quarter 361 and the adjoining quarters B and C, the land mass now stands at 23, 627 sqm equivalent to 48 plots.
“The Quarter used to House the Governors of the Old Western Region in the colonial days and the pre-independence era as well as the immediate post-independence period, where the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo and Chief SLA Akintola ruled the Region.
“Quarter 361 was originally said to have been acquired by former Governor Rashidi Ladoja when he served as Governor. His successor, Adebayo Alao-Akala revoked the land and reallocated the same to late Alhaji Abdulazeez Arisekola Alao, the late Ibadan businessman and Islamic leader.
“The late businessman in turn was said to have given out the land as gift to Senator Abiola Ajimobi, the immediate past Governor of Oyo State, through a “Deed of Gift” registered in the Land Registry.
“The veracity of the “Deed of Gift” is already being questioned and has become a subject of investigation.
“But Ladoja and Ajimobi were said to have ignited rivalry on the ownership of the land immediately Ladoja got discharged and acquitted from the trial over money laundering by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, last year.”
According to the source, “Quarter 361 is not supposed to be allocated to anyone not only because of the historical value, but also for security reasons.
The quarters stand directly between the Governor’s office and the New Governor’s Lodge. A high calibre close circuit camera would readily capture the Governor’s Office and the Governor’s Lodge from either side of that building.
“Besides, the acquisition of Protocol Quarters adjoining Quarter 361 means that all Protocol officers in the employ of the state are rendered homeless.”
The source stated further that the acquisition of Quarter 361 and others by one man violates the one man one plot principle contained in the Land Use Decree of 1978.
Aside from that, another source knowledgeable in land matters said that an individual is not supposed to be allocated more than 5,000 sqm and that the 23,627 sqm is way beyond the limit of an individual.
“The said Quarter 361 is way too strategic security-wise. Whatever happens in the State Secretariat, and the main Government House plus the administrative offices are at vantage view of the quarter.
“Quarter 361(B) also acquired by Senator Ajimobi has a file number 56/56/3771. It has its survey number as IB.3375 with a size of 2,279 sqm. He was said to have acquired the land on February 6, 2019.
“The former Governor also acquired another Quarter 361(C), the land adjoining Quarter 361 marked 17/17/3714 and dated March 17, 2015. The plot with size 6,565 sqm has as survey number IB.2691”, the source added.
Investigations revealed that one of the revoked plots of land is Block 1, Plot 1&2, old Mammy Market, Agodi, GRA, Ibadan, which is also close to the Governor’s Lodge.
It was registered in the name of a former Governor of Osun State, Chief Bisi Akande on January 18, 2019 with file number 47/47/3771 and Survey number IB.3368.
“Also revoked is Block II, Plot 1, Agodi GRA, registered in the name of Otunba Moses Alake Adeyemo, Ajimobi’s former Deputy. The Plot, with file number 46/46 /3771 and registered on January 18, 2019, has survey plan number IB.3368.
“Block II, Plot2 of Agodi GRA, which was registered on February 13, 2019 with file number 57/57/3771, which belonged to Mr. Olalekan Alli, a former Secretary to the State Government was also revoked.
“Equally revoked is Block III, Plot Agodi GRA, belonging to Mr. Adelodun Ajimobi, believed to be the former Governor’s younger brother. The plot’s file number is marked 11/11/3806. It was registered on May 23, 2019 with Survey plan number IB. 3368.
“The plots given in the names of Chief Akande, Adelodun Ajimobi, Olalekan Alli and Otunba Moses Adeyemo were revoked for varying reasons including violation of Land Use, violation of the principle of one man one plot and overriding public interests, the Government said last week.
“For instance, it was said that whereas the plots were given out as private residential slots by Ajimobi’s government, a number of the owners have converted the plots to commercial use and are currently developing them for commercial estates.
“The Land Use Decree of 1978 guarantees one man one plot, Chief Akande was allocated two plots at that location and besides the development is supposed to be owner occupier basis and it is not, that’s a violation of Land Use. The plots were being turned to commercial use though they were given out as private residential.
“There are questions being raised about the actual nature of payments. In some instances, the government can allow 50 percent rebates on land payment to guarantee accelerated development but there are indications some of the said owners got 75 percent rebates. Investigations on the nature of payments remitted are still ongoing.”
When contacted, Ajimobi, speaking through his media aide, Mr Bolaji Tunji said “The present administration has always shown either incompetence and intellectual laziness in verifying information. That is why they are always reversing all their policies.
“Instances of these are numerous and in the public domain. Governor Seyi Makinde has also not shown enough patience to gather facts, quite unfortunate. Obviously, a government of vendetta is administering Oyo State.
“The Magazine Road property belongs to the Railway Property Management Company Limited and not the Oyo State Government (OYSG). Grandex is a tenant in the property.
The lands donated by Alh. Abdul-Azeez Arisekola-Alao are not allocations from the OYSG to Sen. Abiola Ajimobi, rather Aare bidded for and purchased when the OYSG offered them for sale and he emerged as the highest and preferred bidder for the two contiguous lands which he later gave to Senator Abiola Ajimobi by ways of two separate Deeds of Gift duly registered at the Lands Registry and in respect of which all statutory payments on the Deeds were fully paid.
“The real reason why the lands were revoked are not unconnected to the criminal complaints reported by Sen. Abiola Ajimobi against the Commissioner for Lands, Abiodun Abdul-Raheem Esq who invaded the property of Senator Abiola Ajimobi under construction with armed thugs and also the frustration of the Governor in respect of the Local Government case in court.
“All he needs to do is to toe the path of the rule of laws rather than chasing shadows and fighting imaginary and perceived enemies