BY GABRIEL ENOGHOLASE
BENIN—A Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, lawmaker in the Edo State House of Assembly, Mr. Momoh Abdul-Rasak, has denied being a signatory to the petition that was purportedly used by All Progressives Congress, APC, legislators to impeach Mr. Festus Ebea as Deputy Speaker, insisting that his signature was forged.
It will be recalled that Momoh’s name was contained in a list of 16 lawmakers in the 24-member Assembly, who allegedly signed the impeachment notice served on the Deputy Speaker, so as to fulfill the constitutional requirement of two-third needed to impeach him.
Meanwhile, Prince Osama Erediauwa, son to Oba of Benin, yesterday, resigned his appointment as an Executive Director, Government Office, in the Governor Adams Oshiomhole administration and defected to the PDP.
In another development, PDP Chairman in the state, Chief Dan Orbih, has said that PDP members in the House were now nine and not eight, adding that the party has the responsibility to defend its lawmakers in the House.
In a letter he addressed to the Secretary to the Edo State Government announcing his resignation, Prince Erediauwa thanked the state government for the opportunity given to him to serve the state.
Meanwhile, addressing newsmen in Benin, yesterday at a briefing attended by all the PDP lawmakers in the Assembly and leaders of the party in the state, Momoh, while denying being a signatory to the impeachment notice on the Deputy Speaker, said: “I want the whole world and the Inspector-General of Police to find out how my signature was forged.”
He said he was with his PDP colleagues and the state Chairman of the party, Chief Orbih, throughout the period the APC lawmakers met at the Government House on Monday, pointing out that the alleged forgery was not the first time an attempt would be made by APC leaders in the state to drag his name in the mud.
However, reacting to the impeachment of the Deputy Speaker, Orbih described the decision of the APC lawmakers to hold plenary at Government House as an abnormal act targeted at eroding the principle of separation of powers.
He said: “For some time now, we have noticed Governor Oshiomhole’s lust for power. Before now, we raised the alarm of how he wanted to bring the judiciary under his control. We want to say that he has achieved that goal and now wants to extend his total conquest to the legislative arm of government.”
He added that while two-third majority was needed to impeach an Assembly Speaker or Deputy Speaker, only 15 lawmakers, including the Assembly Speaker was present at the plenary where the Deputy Speaker was purportedly impeached.
Meanwhile, efforts to get the reaction of the state Commissioner for Information, Mr Louis Odion, on Prince Erediauwa’s resignation were unsuccessful at press time as repeated calls to his cellphones were unanswered.
However, a source close to the Office of the Governor, who craved anonymity, described the development as a “non-issue as the Prince was really never a factor within the government.”
On what could possibly be the Prince’s grouse, the senior official said: “He is not the only one the governor gave political appointment as a mark of goodwill to the Palace. You have Princess Theresa Eradiauwa, who is Executive Director of MDGs Bureau. You have Princess Ekiuwa Inneh, who the governor made the Head of Service in 2012 and on retirement last year, he made her the Head of the Civil Service Commission. Princess Uze is a senior executive in the Economic Team Office. Prince Ekpen is the immediate past Chairman of Oredo Local Government Area.
“I can tell you that his siblings, who are still occupying high positions in the current administration, are concerned by his action. I am sure our highly referred Oba would also be unhappy with this,” source added.