…As Oshiomhole, APC leaders engage in marathon meetings on way forward
SIMON EBEGBULEM, BENIN CITY
The leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Edo state is presently in a dilemma over how to handle the Monday coup in the state House of Assembly which ousted the Speaker of the House, Mr Justin Okonoboh, Deputy Speaker, Elizabeth Ativie and Majority Leader, Folly Ogedengbe. 19 members of the House had carried out the impeachment over alleged gross abuse of office, illegal award of contracts and high handedness.
The lawmakers consequently elected the former Chief whip of the House, Mr Kabiru Adjoto, representing Akoko Edo constituency 1 as the new Speaker, Victor Edoror (Esan Central) was elected Deputy Speaker while Rolland Asoro (Orhiomwon South) was elected Majority Leader. But the development has disrupted the political arrangement in the state which the APC leadership is currently battling to deal with.
As it is now, Edo Central Senatorial district has lost the Speakership to Edo North where the Deputy Governor of the state, Philip Shaibu hails from. The party had ceded the governorship to Edo South, Deputy Governor Edo North while the Speaker was ceded to Edo Central. The leadership of the party in the state led by the immediate past governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole has therefore been holding marathon meetings to resolve the issue.
The state chairman of the APC, Anslem Ojezua who is from Edo Central whose indigenes are currently crying of marginalization expressed concern when he spoke with journalists last Tuesday. He said, “I have told them that in Edo state we have a tradition of maintaining a tripod where the governor comes from a senatorial district, the deputy governor comes from another senatorial district while the Speaker comes from the third senatorial district.
If what they have done in the State House of Assembly was not in line with that, then they have to revisit it in order not to create tension in the state. We must balance our politics. We have had instances in the past where this kind of thing happened. In some cases we have had to live with it and there were times we had to deal with it. A year ago when this sort of thing happened, we mounted sufficient pressure and they swapped their positions”.
Also, the Concerned Esan Sons and Daughters in a communique signed by Mr Roy Oribhabor, Convener of the group, urged the APC leadership to return the Speakership to Edo Central or lose the support of the people for the government. According to them, “we call on Edo state government to as a matter of urgency intervene in the crisis in Edo state House of Assembly. We demand the immediate restoration of Speakership to Esan man to promote balance of governmental position structure.
We condemn in strong terms the way and manner the impeachment was conducted because it lacks legislative principles. We reject the office of deputy speaker zoned to Esan nation and call for elevation of Victor Edoror to speaker or nominate another Esan legislator as speaker. We call on Edo state House of Assembly to be more focused and perform their constitutional duties accordingly. It is on record that in less than two years we have had four Speakers in the House and that is not good for the development of the state”.
Adding his royal voice, the Benin monarch, Oba Ewuare 11, noted that the frequent changes in the leadership of the House was capable of derailing development which should be the paramount interest of the lawmakers. A statement signed by Chief Press Secretary to the Oba, Desmond Agbama, said “Benin monarch who watched with great disappointment the throwing of chairs and use of fisticuff among members of the Assembly says it does not portray them as Honourable members as it is a sign of desperation for power.
He further advised the lawmakers to always apply caution and democratic means and observe the rule of law any time they wish to change the House leadership, in order to show good leadership example to the people they represent in particular and the coming generation of leaders in general”.
The Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP) led by Dr Samson Isibor, however argued that the issue of the leadership of the House is the entire business of the lawmakers and wherever the Speaker comes from should not be an issue as long as majority of the lawmakers approved it. He said “the members have the right to choose their leaders. It has not resulted to violence, so we are happy.
For some us, we believe that we need a strong House of Assembly to check the excesses of any government and if the new leadership of the Assembly can help us check it fine. What should be paramount is to ensure that the lawmakers make laws that will positively affect the lives of the people and not where the leadership comes from”.
However, the new Speaker Adjoto and his team resumed sitting last Tuesday and ordered the ousted leadership to return their vehicles to enable the new leadership commence work immediately. According to him, “the new leadership by God’s grace is going to be proactive and we will make sure that whatever we do here is to the benefit of Edo people”.