BY SIMON EBEGBULEM & GABRIEL ENOGHOLASE
BENIN—AS members of Edo State House of Assembly sit today amidst unresolved crisis, Governor Adams Oshiomhole has admonished the four suspended Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, lawmakers in the House to obey the court order which restrained them from attending the House sittings.
Similarly, Coalition of Registered Political Parties, CRPP, in the state has urged the four suspended lawmakers to obey the court order.
CRPP, in a statement by its state Chairman, Dr. Samson Isibor, said: “We are calling on the suspended lawmaker to respect their status and obey court orders in order to avoid anarchy.”
Bailiff’s action condemnable —Ebea But the Deputy Speaker, Mr. Festus Ebea, has described as condemnable, the action of a court bailiff who wanted to serve him and the three other Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, lawmakers the court processes outside their residence and offices, from which they were being denied access, as ludicrous.
The suspended Deputy Speaker’s condemnation is coming on the heels of the decision of the suspended lawmakers and those of the PDP to attend today’s session.
The Chief Minority Whip of the House, Mr. Kingsley Ehigiamusoe, who spoke to Vanguard in a telephone chat, when asked if they would attend the House session which was adjourned to today, said: “We will attend today’s session.
We are only appealing to our colleagues on the other side to give peace a chance in the interest of Edo people. As for us, the session will be peaceful and there will be no problem.”
Ebea, who spoke with journalists in Benin, weekend, said: “The suspension was quite laughable because the rule which they relied on, i.e. Rule 38 (3, 4 and 6), is quite explicit to the effect that for you to be suspended, you must be at the sitting and it is one person at a time.
You cannot suspend a group. “In my case, they said ‘misconduct’ that the Deputy Speaker is always in nocturnal meetings with other people. What is funny about this is that the people that met me, did so in my capacity as Deputy Speaker, in my official residence, not elsewhere.
“When the suspension came, the Speaker and others decided to deal with the former APC lawmakers that defected alleging that Patrick Osayimwen, Oredo East; Friday Ogieriakhi, Orhionmwon South and Jude Idehen, Ikpoba-Okha, got money to defect to the PDP and that they (Deputy Speaker and others) were induced.
“They offered me money because I had not crossed, but I refused. Mine was even tripled, but I still refused because the issues I had with them are clearly stated and till tomorrow, I will not back down on those issues; it is not about me. So God, the judge of all knows if I had collected money, whether from PDP or the Federal Government or from any other human being to do what I am doing.
Nobody induced me. In as much as I know that I cannot speak for any of my colleague, if you verify from them, you will find that they were not induced.”
However, Governor Oshiomhole on a live television programme, monitored in Benin City, called on the lawmakers to obey the court order so as to avoid unnecessary tension in the state.
“The institutions of state are still weak. The House of Assembly got a court injunction from a Federal High Court restraining them from suspending or declaring the seats of four members vacant. The court also upheld the power of the House to suspend their members based on the rules of the House. The court would not freeze those powers therefore, it vacated that aspect of the order.
“Based on the court ruling, the House as a lawmaking institution and therefore a law abiding institution decided to suspend these four members. But they decided that they will not accept the court order and they got the Police to force them into the House.”