GOVERNOR Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State has returned to Abeokuta following his controversial disappearance over recent weeks and got to work immediately by signing the recently-passed anti-open grazing bill into law.
Earlier this week, Governor Abiodun came in for fierce criticism after governance in the state was brought to a complete standstill has been brought to a standstill after he, his deputy and the speaker of the state house of assembly all travelled abroad. In an unprecedented development, the top three citizens in the state all happened to be away at the same time and nobody had been placed in charge of governance.
Things got off to a bad start when Governor Abiodun decided to leave for the UK last week to visit the ailing All Progressives Congress leader Asiwaju Bola Tinubu without handing over to his deputy Noimot Salako-Oyedele. It appears that the governor only informed Tokunbo Talabi, the secretary to the state government that he was travelling abroad, so his deputy who was not aware of what was going on made her own plans.
Deputy governor Salako-Oyedele subsequently enacted her own plans to travel to the UK, while Hon Olakunle Oluomo, the speaker of the Ogun State House of Assembly is attending an international summit in the US. To make matters worse, Hon Oluomo left without handing over to the deputy speaker of the house.
However, normality has now returned as both Governor Abiodun and Hon Oluomo have resumed duty in Abeokuta. On July 8, the Ogun State House of Assembly passed the Animal Grazing Regulation and Cattle Ranch Establishment Law but since then, the governor had not assented to the bill despite a resolution by the Southern Governors Forum that it should be passed on or before August 31.
Today, however, Governor Abiodun returned to his desk and immediately assented to the bill during a Security Council meeting, calling on security agencies to swing into action immediately and enforce provisions of the law. He said this is a subject matter that had been discussed along the length and breadth of the country.
Governor Abiodun added: “Cattle rearers have a six-month period of grace before it becomes illegal in Ogun state for them to occupy unapproved public areas and private land with their livestock for grazing. The law also prohibits the act of moving cattle around public places by herders.
“A committee headed by the state commissioner for agriculture, Dr Adeola Odedina has been set up to midwife the implementation and enforcement of the new law. By implication, in six months, it will become unlawful to openly graze cattle or other livestock in the state.”
This signing comes as the New Nigeria People’s Party submitted a petition to the Ogun State House of Assembly, asking the lawmakers to commence impeachment process against Governor Abiodun and his deputy. So far, the governor is yet to comment about his foreign trip and the furore it generated.