On Monday January 4, 2021, shortly after the news of Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq cabinet dissolution broke comes the news of the sack of Director General, Kwara state Bureau of Land, Mr. Bolaji Edun, with reports that one Mr. Abdullahi Bolakale Yusuf took over from him immediately.
Refuting the widely reported sack of Mr. Edun as DG Bureau of Lands, the CPS to the Governor, Rafiu Ajakaiye initially said “there is a cessation of the office of the DG Bureau of Lands in the state. Lands’ is now a department under the recently signed Geographic Information Service, GIS, law. The GIS, now overseas land and related issues in the state,” without particularly stating whether Edun was sacked or not.
Two major things are clear in the CPS’s statement and agitates my mind; one is the fact that Kwara state now have a functional Geographic Information Service outfit, established by the GIS law, and two, Bureau of Land ceases to exist as it now becomes a department under the GIS.
It then becomes worrisome, how such a significant decision to scrap “Kwara state Bureau of Land” was taken without any form of official information of the general public.
As a matter of fact, Kwarans were only informed when the Bill got to the House of Assembly and later its public hearing.
Its eventual signing into law by the Governor was shrouded in secrecy, unlike the tradition of informing the general public when a new bill is signed into law. The signing into law of several bills have always been publicized by the government, why is the GIS not publicized and even the scrap of Bureau of Lands, if not for the news of the sack of the DG.
Circumstances surrounding the GIS and Bureau of Lands saga appears suspicious and I begin to have more interest in studying provisions of this law.
After 48 hours of the news of the sack of the Lands DG, CPS to Governor Abdulrazaq came back again to inform the public Edun was not sacked as DG Bureau of Lands, but to serve in another capacity in the GIS, the newly created agency that will house Lands as a department.
It took 48hours to refute a claim of sack of a government official, yet, Mallam Ajakaiye still did not inform Kwarans, to which position is the government appointing Mr. Edun? Or is the news just to tell us he would be given another appointment? Even when we are told GIS is assimilating Bureau of Lands and would cease its operation, perhaps, the DG is not a career but political appointment.
Also, if there is no more Bureau of Land in the State, it invariably means Mr. Edun is at present not engaged by Kwara state government, notwithstanding the promised appointment. Will the Kwara state government continue paying him for doing nothing, since “he is not sacked” but to be given “another role”?
Meanwhile, if Edun has been penned down for the position of Chairman who shall also be the Chief Executive Officer as stated in the GIS law, has he also satisfied all the required qualifications as contained on Part II No. 5(1) of the Kwara Georgraphic Information Service Law, 2020?
Another question that comes to mind is whether or not, the law establishing Bureau of Lands in Kwara state was repealed or not. But above all, I will like Mallam Ajakaiye to show us where and when the Governor signed the GIS bill into law.
Araakunrin Bolakale A.
Writes from Ikeja, Lagos.