A gubernatorial aspirant in Oyo State, Prof. Adeolu Akande has advised the governor of Oyo State to consult host communities before he gives out their land for ranches.
Akande said ownership of land is such an emotive issue that if not well handled, could generate a backlash in violence and destruction which will outweigh the economic advantages of such ranches.
He said land ownership is at the root of many communal clashes that have claimed thousands of lives and invaluable destruction across the country.
Oyo State was recently listed among states that had indicated interest in granting land to the federal government for the construction of ranches. The government had argued that the move will stem the tide of clahes between headsmen and communities in the country.
Akande who teaches Political Science at the Igbinedion University, Okada in Edo State, however cautioned that while the move is commendable, the circumstances of states differ from one another, necessitating the need for the Oyo State government to think through the initiative so as not to compound the problem facing the present generation and plant a time bomb for future generations.
Hear him: “The initiative is not a one- size – fits – all solution to the problem of herdsmen/ community clashes in the country.The realities on ground differ from one state to another. What obtains in states like Nassarawa and Kano states, for instance, may not apply to Oyo State.
“It is true that the Land Use Act 2004 vests all land in the state in the governor, the exercise of such power must take cognisance of the sensibilities of the people and the potentials of such exercise of power to promote or distrupt peceful co-existence in the communities.
“The granting of land lasts sometimes for 99 years, a period long enough for the incubation of animousity among groups if the exercise of the governor’s power of land allocation ignores the disposition of the people.
“While it is true that an elected governor has the mandate of the people, the general application of such mandate requires frequent consultation with the people especially when the matter at hand was not specifically at issue in the campaigns that brought the governor to office. This issue has been made more important when there is no evidence that the legislature which is the most representive of the arms of government has endorsed the release of such land by the government.
“I implore Governor Ajimobi to tarry a while in the exercise of his powers under the Land Use Act 2004 and engage host communities in which he plans the release of land for the ranches to know the disposition of the people. To do otherwise is to plant a time-nomb in the state. This will be a diservice to the good people of Oyo State”.