THERE  is a burgeoning regime of executive rascality, recklessness and lawlessness in Edo State which thrives on serial constitutional infractions perpetrated by the State Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole in the guise of statecraft.

The latest of such characteristic acts of impunity was the October 25 dissolution of the 18 local government councils in the State, before the December 16, 2010 expiration of their three-year tenure.

In contempt of legality and due process, which have, of course, long taken a flight from the State due to Oshiomhole’s authoritarian temperament, the emperor of Edo (as he now is), has emplaced caretaker committees made up of his cronies to run the councils.

Pray, what is the morality in dissolving democratically-elected councils about 68 days to the end of their tenure, ordering the Heads of Service in the councils who were not elected to take over the administration in the interim before appointing caretaker committees pending fresh elections?

Certainly, there is no morality in that patently anti-democratic and illegal act.  In fact, inherent in the act is political desperation and bad politics that feed on the phobia of imminent rejection of his government at the polls.

Right from the day he was sworn in as governor in 2008 following the Court of Appeal verdict that voided the victory of Professor Oserhiemen Osunbor, he (Oshiomhole) had quickly embarked on a plan to dismantle the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) structures in the State.

Whereas Edo has been a traditional PDP State since 1999 until 2008 when it somehow slipped into the hands of the Action Congress (AC), now Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Oshiomhole is exerting himself, rather indecorously, towards ensuring that the PDP is permanently supplanted by the ACN.

For instance, during the rerun election into Akoko-Edo 1 Constituency seat in the House of Assembly, the state government under Oshiomhole allowed a band of thugs to storm the area to intimidate political opponents and scare off the electorate.

But on the election day the police in Kogi State reportedly arrested 27 of the thugs with AK 47 rifles after accomplishing their mission.  They were detained in Abuja.  Some of them were identified by the police as persons wanted for various murder cases in Kogi.   They had since been charged to court.

About four weeks to the dissolution of the councils, my dear governor dissolved the State Independent Electoral Commission (SIEC) and reconstituted it with total disregard to their term of office. The case is before the Benin High Court.

This is why the October 25 dissolution of the local government councils is a further manifestation of the nauseating antics of one who is committed to destroying constitutional order in Edo State and consolidating illegality in a bid to keep his party in power.

Oshiomhole’s strategy is all familiar: He first moved in, albeit through proxy to upturn the status quo in the State House of Assembly.  By a sleight that is typically Machiavellian, he sponsored minority ACN elements in the House to take-over the leadership without respect for due process as constitutionally circumscribed.

Today, the State House of Assembly is involved in a circus of aberration under the controversial speakership of Bright Omokhodion.  The bona fide Speaker, Zakawanu Garuba and his colleagues in the PDP Caucus, who boycotted the House since February this year, are fighting the illegality in court.

What is the legality and morality in the sittings by a House presided over by Omokhodion in concert with 13 confederates without the 10 PDP members in attendance? The House, nudged on by Oshiomhole, has ignored suggestions that its illegal sittings amount to ACN meetings.

Oshiomhole does not care if PDP caucus in the House stays away indefinitely from the sittings because that pays him better.  He does not want the existence of the other party or the other voice so he does not take up the gauntlet of democracy that places the onus on him to be accountable to the people.

If he were accountable to the people, if he had respect for the people, would he have prematurely encroached on the enfranchisement and rights of the people to democratically elected local government councils as constitutionally guaranteed?

But it is sad that a man who gained popularity as a labour leader for seemingly fighting anti-people policies of the Federal Government would act so anti-democratically by submerging the will of the people to the dictates of executive fiat.

Before this wholesale dissolution of the 18 local government councils in the State, he had earlier removed from office by the same stroke of executive high-handedness the chairmen of Akoko-Edo, Orhiomwon and Oredo local government councils for alleged mismanagement of council funds.

But he could not sustain the allegation.  It was clear that the actions were politically-motivated.  Both chairmen were members of the PDP.  Oshiomhole had to deploy the force of government to dislodge them so he could take over the councils as part of initial plans to expand the frontiers of ACN power structure in the State.

It is also public knowledge that before the dissolution of the councils, some of the chairmen never got their monthly allocations released to them for upwards of two to four months.

This was sheer intimidation through financial strangulation designed to whip the affected chairmen into his political line.

The totality of these illegal actions was executed to achieve the complete take-over of the machinery of government at all levels in the state other than by democratic means so that by the time elections come, Oshiomhole or ACN will have an advantageous edge over PDP and others.

There is no doubt that Oshiomhole is out to destroy the PDP.  He is allegedly in support of persons in the State out to try to create a faction in the PDP.

By Ainofenokhai ISA, a political analyst, contributed this piece from Benin


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