Reps wade into Edo assembly crisis

Edo State House of Assembly
Edo State House of Assembly

The House of Representatives has set up a 13-member ad-hoc committee to investigate the crisis in the Edo State House of Assembly.

The state assembly has been embroiled in controversies over the ‘inauguration’ and the ‘election’ of a new speaker.

This development has also lent credence to the reports of a rift between the APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, and the state governor, Godwin Obaseki.

All the 24 members of the state assembly belong to the APC.

But nine of them, allegedly prompted by the state governor, clandestinely met at night to ‘inaugurate’ the House and ‘elect’ a speaker.

The other lawmakers-elect were excluded in order to prevent Mr Oshiomhole’s loyalists from taking control of the legislature, PREMIUM TIMES learnt.

During plenary on Tuesday, the speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, announced Abdulrazak Namdas (APC, Adamawa) as the chairman of the committee.

The motion for the House intervention followed a unanimous adoption of a motion under matters of urgent national importance brought by Julius Ihonvbere (APC, Edo), at plenary on Tuesday.

Mr Ihonvbere expressed concern over what he described as the improper inauguration of the 7th Edo State House of Assembly on June 17, 2019.

He said that nine of the 24 elected members were purportedly sworn-in without the knowledge of the other 15 members elect.

The lawmaker said that proclamations were made in pursuant to the provisions of the 1999 Constitution.

He said that Section 105 (3) directs the governor to issue a proclamation to facilitate the inauguration of the House of Assembly and commencement of legislative business to avoid a constitutional crisis.

The lawmaker alleged that four members-elect of the Edo State House of Assembly were abducted by state operatives.

“The Clerk of the House secretly inaugurated nine members at about 9.30 p.m. which he said was outside the time of legislative business.” He said.

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He added that the 15 member-elect who were not informed of the inauguration addressed the media on June 18 to condemn the act.

According to him, the 15 members-elect were attacked by hired thugs and security operatives.

The legislator said that subsequent threat to life and injury sustained during the attack, made the members-elect flee the state for safety.

He maintained that legislative activities cannot take place in the state unless a proper inauguration was done as guaranteed by the Constitution.

He prayed the House to take over the affairs of the Edo State House of Assembly as provided by section 11 (4) of the 1999 Constitution.

In his response, the Speaker mandated the committee to investigate the matter and report back within one week.

The relationship between Mr Oshiomhole, and his protégé, Mr Obaseki, has broken down, PREMIUM TIMES learnt.

Mr Oshiomhole, a former governor of Edo, helped Mr Obaseki to succeed him as the state governor in 2016, against all the odds.

The governor is likely going to seek re-election next year.

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