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Tension in Edo Assembly over decampees

By Simon Ebegbulem
BENIN—TENSION heightened yesterday in Edo State House of Assembly, as Action Congress, AC, members in the House vowed to resist any attempt by the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, lawmakers to declare vacant the seat of any PDP lawmaker who decamps to the ruling party.

This comes as the newly elected lawmaker from Etsako Central Local Government Area of the, Mr Johnson Oghuma,  was sworn in by the Speaker, Zakawanu Garuba, bringing a tie between the PDP and AC in the 24-member legislature.

The PDP leadership in the House alleged, Monday, that there were attempts by the Action Congress government in the state to financially induce some PDP members and intimidate them into decamping to AC, with a view to impeaching the Speaker.

However, addressing newsmen in Benin yesterday, AC lawmakers, led by Paul Ohonbamu and Philip Shuaibu, told the PDP lawmakers that the days of their dominance in the House were over, adding that they would no longer tolerate any attempt to intimidate or victimize AC lawmakers.

Ohonbamu explained that section 109 sub section 1 (g) of the constitution, which the Speaker cited that gave him the power to suspend any member who decamped to another political party, showed clearly that the provisions must be done in whole and not in part and that sub section 2 placed high burden on whosoever wanted to declare any seat vacant.

According to him, “You cannot declare a seat vacant for no apparent reason; that subsection places condition precedence on the Speaker and says you must first satisfy the House; that the person decamping has fallen within the ambit of all these things laid down in the constitution.”

The AC lawmakers declared that “It is our time to declare our liberty and freedom and we are not ready to re-enact the already decadent machinery of godfatherism for the benefit of fifth columnists which is what the AC has come to reiterate in the Nigerian society”.

Ohonbamu denied any financial inducement or alleged threat by the governor on any PDP member to lure them to the ruling party.

 He, however, noted that lobbying was part of politics that could never be wished away, adding that the prudent management of resources by Governor Adams Oshiomhole had endeared the governor to many PDP members who were earlier opposed to him.

“It is natural that those people or lawmakers would want to join the governor in his party to be part of the success story. So it is bad for the House leadership to create fear on the our people and we will resist any attempt to intimidate anybody in the House.

“When it is twelve, twelve, it always shows that we are just at par. You cannot use the word majority leader; you cannot use the word minority leader.

But because we wrote the same examination by virtue of doing election the same day, you know we have the governor with us and if we want to adopt the Ekiti model, obviously we are the majority,” the AC lawmaker said.


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