May 23, 2017

Attempt to impeach Edo Speaker hits rock

By Simon Ebegbulem

BENIN—THERE was tension in Edo State, yesterday, after  members of the state House of Assembly who were supposed to resume from their recess postponed resumption indefinitely following alleged attempt by some lawmakers to impeach the Speaker, Mr Justin Okonoboh.

Trouble started when some lawmakers, led by the House Committee Chairman on Education, Mr Chris Okaiben, accused the former Speaker of the House, Victor Edoror, of allegedly plotting the impeachment move so he could return as Speaker.

However, Vanguard learned that the problem of the current Speaker started few days before the members went on recess as he was accused by some lawmakers of not carrying them along in the award of contracts and also not being transparent about the funds that accrued to the House.

The angry lawmakers were said to have commenced the plot on Sunday  during a leadership meeting of the House ahead of its resumption yesterday,  when it was learned that some lawmakers had started the collection of signatures for Okonoboh’s impeachment.

The situation forced the lawmakers to suspend resumption indefinitely before they all stormed Government House to see Governor Godwin Obaseki, who was said to have expressed shock over the situation.

Speaker Okonoboh, who reacted to the situation, said it was normal for members to disagree but that the majority will always carry the day.

He said: “We are renovating our chambers, our generators and public address system. What you call division is not a serious one, as there is no House in the world where there is no division. In a gathering of 24 member House, we cannot think or reason the same way.”

“But what we do is to struggle to present a common front before the people of Edo State. In the House, minorities will have their say but the majority will have their way. What is being experienced is normal issues in the House.”

Reacting also, the APC lawmaker representing Oredo West, Mr Okaiben, said, “What we are experiencing now is an everyday thing. There was a time that it was rumoured that there were plans by the former Speaker in the person of Victor Edoror to come back, we did play it down because we wanted to manage information. He wants to come back but for us I know what is good for me.

“If you set the right standards, you will never have problem. If Edoror got it right from the beginning, why should you have problem or worry about what is happening in the House. Yes, there are people who are not happy in the House, a lot of politics is involved but it is not something we should worry ourselves about. I have always said that the kind of House I want to be associated with is to stay away from violence.”