By Simon Ebegbulem
BENIN â€” Activists for Good Governance, a non-governmental organisation, has concluded plans to drag the 11 members of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Edo State House of Assembly to court over alleged refusal to attend sittings in the past two months, following the controversial removal of the former Speaker, Zakawanu Garuba.
It would be recalled that the 13 members of Action Congress, AC, in the state House of Assembly impeached Garuba and installed Mr. Bright Omokhodion as the new speaker after they claimed that 16 lawmakers signed the impeachment of the ex-speaker.
Ever since the incident, the 11 PDP lawmakers absented themselves from sittings and relocated to Abuja after raising an alarm that their lives were being threatened in the state.
However, leader of the NGO, Mr Morris Ovia, who briefed newsmen, yesterday, in Benin City, condemned the continued absence of the lawmakers from proceedings, despite the fact that they were being paid with tax payersâ€™ money.
Ovia, who incidentally is aspiring to represent Ovia South-West Constituency in the House of Assembly under the platform ofÂ AC, recalled that with his experience as a former aide to the former Deputy Senate President, Ibrahim Mantu, and Mr Ehioge West-Idahosa, who has represen-ted his constituency for the past twelve years, the action of the 11 lawmakers was illegal and an attempt to cause anarchy in the state.
His words: â€œWe have resolved to go to court to challenge the 11 PDP legislators who have refused to resume duties because they have exceeded the number of days they are supposed to stay away.
â€œIf they are not interested in coming back to work, they should leave so that their various constituencies will bring in fresh people who will represent them. This is not the first time a speaker has been impeached and unfortunately, the PDP is very good in impeaching themselves from history in this state.
â€œIt is not because you feel you are no longer in power that you will now decide to make the state ungover-nable. We will resist such actions and because we are law-abiding citizens, the best way we can seek for peace is for some of us to go to court to challenge their continued absence because they are being paid their salaries through tax payersâ€™ money.
â€œWe will not continue to keep quite. When we elect our lawmakers, they are not elected speakers or principal officers. So why will they want to stay away because the leadership has changed?â€
He said when the PDP was in charge, AC members were attending proceedings, wondering why the PDP members were feeling a huge sense of loss. â€œTheir action is unacceptable and we want the court to declare their seats vacant so that we can move forward,â€ he added.
Edo state is bigger than any group or individual and we must all learn to pursue the collective interest of our people and not our political interest,â€ he said.