By Gabriel Enogholase
BENIN â€” The member representing Orhionmwon South Constituency at Edo State House of Assembly on the platform of Action Congress (AC), Mr. Ikponmwosa Etionsa Ogbeiewi, has been suspended indefinitely over alleged attempt to corruptly influence members of the House during the consideration of a committee report that looked into allegations of diversion of funds leveled against him by some communities in the his constituency.
The suspension of Mr. Ogbeiwi is coming barely a week afterÂ Mr. Philip Shaibu, also of the Action Congress (AC), was suspended by the legislature for allegedlyÂ casting aspersions on the House and its leadership in a press interview.
Vanguard recalls that some youths from Orhionmwon Local Government Council had petitioned the House over alleged diversion of community funds into private pockets by the suspended legislator and sequel to this an ad-hoc committee headed by the Majority Leader, Mr. Frank Okiye, was constituted to investigate the allegation.
The committee had since submitted its report to the House and would soon be considered.
Speaking under Matters of Urgent Public Importance, the member, representing Esan North-East Constituency II, Mr. Emmanuel Okoduwa, emphasised the need by all members to maintain the integrity of the House.
He also drew his colleaguesâ€™ attention to attempts by Ogbeiwi to bribe members in order to influence their opinion.
According to him, â€œThe way and manner the member representing Orhionmwon South is going about to members, to the extent of even making attempts to corrupt members to influence the opinion of members in considering that report, I feel it is not healthy.
â€œIt is going to nip the integrity of this House in the bud and the integrity of this House must be maintained and sustained so that we can remain relevant in the state.â€
He subsequently moved a motion for the suspension of Mr. Ogbeiwi and this was seconded by Mr. Saiki Samuel.
Speaker of the House, Mr. Zakawanu Garuba, while affirming the suspension order,Â insisted that the suspension was not punitive, but meant to ensure that the House considered the report of the Okiye-led ad-hoc committee with all fairness.
With the suspension, according to the Speaker, Ogbeiwi is not to be seen within the precincts of the parliament, while he was directed to return all official property in his possession, including the official car.
Also, the legislature yesterday raised a three-man ad-hoc committee, headed by Mr. Anslem Agbabi, to investigate the bribery allegation.
Other members of the committee which has one month to submit its report are Patrick Osayimwen and Emmanuel Okoduwa.
Denying the allegation deliberations on the report, Ogbeiwi said it was alien and strange to him that he had attempted to bribe members of the committee that has completed its assignment, describing the suspension as politically motivated.