Anxiety in Edo as 9 lawmakers pick speaker

By FN Editor on 19/06/2019

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In what could be described as a coup, nine Edo State House of Assembly members met on Monday night and elected Frank Okiye and Yekini Idiaye as speaker and deputy speaker respectively during the inauguration of the House presided over by the Clerk, Alhaji Audu Yahaya Omogbai.

The inauguration, which followed a letter of proclamation from Governor Godwin Obasseki to the Clerk of the House, dated June 14, was said to have held between 9.45 pm and 10.15 pm amidst tight security.

It came few hours after 19 members protested the non-proclamation of the Assembly by Governor Obaseki earlier that day.

It was learnt after a team of lawyers were assembled to study the implication of the planned inauguration, three lawmakers among the 19 that protested earlier in the day were invited for a meeting and in the process, their phones were allegedly taken from them before they were driven to the Assembly and sworn in by the Clerk along with six other members who were already at the House of Assembly.

Soon after, the lawmakers adjourned sitting till July 17 before they were driven to meet the governor in his private residence.

During the inauguration, 17 police patrol vehicles were parked in front of the Assembly complex while additional seven were strategically stationed in adjoining roads.About eight other security vehicles were also sighted around the governor’s residence.

Lawmakers inaugurated were Nosa Okunbor,  Henry Okuarobo, Uyi Ekhosuehi, Marcus Onobun, Ephraim Anehbosele, Roland Asoro and Eric Okaka.

Governor Obaseki has congratulated Okiye and Idiaye on their emergence as leaders of the seventh Assembly.

He said in a statement that with the inauguration of the Assembly, all was set for the members to commence legislative activities and perform their responsibilities to engender development across the state.

He said: “I congratulate the Seventh Assembly on its inauguration and the election Okiye as speaker and Idiaye as deputy speaker.

“Their emergence, I am sure, will pave way for more development in the state.

“I congratulate the newly inaugurated Assembly, and wish the newly sworn-in members a fruitful four years of impactful legislative activities.”

Regardless, 16 Assembly members, who were not part of the inauguration, have said they were not invited to the ceremony.

Spokesman for the 16 lawmakers, Washinton Osifo, said they would have been present at the inauguration if they were invited.

He said the Assembly clerk called at about 5:30 pm to informed them that he had been called from the Government House and they were happy that the press conference has pricked the governor to do what the constitution demands.

“The clerk told us he will call back 30 minutes later but we didn’t hear from him again. Some of our brothers who were supposed to be at a meeting with us were absent. We called them and they were not picking their calls.

“At 9:30 pm, photographs began to filter into our phones suggesting that a kangaroo Assembly was being inaugurated.

“Two of them were also kidnapped to make up the nine members. What they needed because they lack understanding of what a quorum could mean was nine members. There can be no quorum until the House is properly inaugurated.”

‎“What the law requires is inauguration of the entire members. They got four and said they have a quorum. It was for the clerk to announce or cause invitation to be sent to us. That was missing. They gave information of the inauguration only to those they wanted to be there. We would have been there.

‎“We have done the needful. We want to encourage Edo people to defend democracy and stand for the right of men. We have 16 members present here. Others not here are still in shock after they were kidnapped. Two of them are still in shock. They are receiving treatment because their blood pressure went up.”

‎Confirming Osifo’s claim, two of the lawmakers who were present at the inauguration ceremony said they were abducted and forced to the Assembly premises to make the numbers form a quorum.

‎Eric Okaka elected to represent Owan East and Nosa Okunbor (Orhionmwon East) who spoke to newsmen, said they were forcefully taken to the hallowed chamber.

‎“I didn’t know where they brought a suit from for me to wear. The oath taking at the chamber was an illegal one. I am a child of the light.

‎“The inauguration was done under duress. I didn’t collect any money even though there was an attempt to offer me money but I refused,” Okaka said.



Posted on June, 19 2019

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