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Edo Assembly Crisis: Justice will be served – Senate panel

…urges Edo Lawmakers To Exercise Restrain

By Henry Umoru

ABUJA – THE Political quagmire in the Edo State House of Assembly, yesterday took another twist, as twelve members- elect out of the twenty- four member House, stormed the National Assembly where they met with the Senate Ad-hoc Committee, pleading for assistance.

Edo State House of Assembl
Cross-section of outgoing and incoming members of the Edo State House of Assembly with their spouses, at a dinner organised by the state government, at Government House, Benin City.

According to them, their only interest was how to resolve the issue for the benefit of all, go back to work as they were tired of staying outside the state.

At the Senate yesterday, the House of Assembly members- elect narrated their ordeal and gave their own graphic picture of the remote and immediate cause of the crisis in the state, just as they narrated what they went through in the hands of Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki.

The 12 out of the 14 state lawmakers- elect allegedly loyal to the former governor of the state and National Chairman of All Progressives Congress, APC, Adams Oshiomole, were at the National Assembly to state their own side of the crisis to the Ad-hoc committee headed by the Deputy Chief Whip of the Senate, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, APC, Niger North.
Recall that the committee was constituted last week by the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, following a point of order raised by Senator Opeyemi Bamidele, APC, Ekiti Central about the crisis rocking the State House of Assembly.

House of Representatives promoting violence – Edo Assembly(Opens in a new browser tab)

The Committee which was given two weeks to complete its assignment and report back at Plenary, has Senators Nicholas Tofowomo, PDP, Ondo South; Chukwuka Utazi, PDP, Enugu North; Gabriel Suswam, PDP, Benue North East; Eremienyo Biobarakuma Degi, PDP, Bayelsa East; Aishatu Ahmed Dahiru, APC, Adamawa Central and Babba Kaita Ahmad, APC, Katsina North as members.

Announcing the membership of the Committee, President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan had asked the Committee to find out what happened In Edo State House of Assembly and the election of presiding Officers, with a view to finding a lasting solution to the crisis.

Recall that the Ad-hoc committee was on Tuesday in Edo on a fact finding mission to get first hand information on the crisis.

At the meeting yesterday, Senator Abdullahi led Ad-hoc Committee, told the Edo State House of Assembly members- elect that it would be fair to every party when the report of the panel is made public.

Chairman of the committee, Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, during a meeting with a faction of the Assembly loyal to Adams Oshiomhole and yet to take oath of office, said the mandate of the panel is to establish what led to the crisis in the State Assembly and guide the chamber on the next course of action.

Abdullahi also dispelled claims that the committee will be biased. He said they will not take sides, but come up with a political solution that will resolve the crisis as soon as possible, adding, “We have been given a simple assignment to find out what transpired in the days leading to the inauguration of the State Assembly. We want to know about the issue of proclamation and how the inauguration was conducted.”

Quoting relevant sections of the Constitution to back what the Senate is doing, the Chairman of the Committee, Abdullahi who told the 12 lawmakers- elect that they want to hear their own side, said: “Let me assure Nigerians and the good people of Edo state that the Senate is only interested in this matter as related to the Constitution, so that Edo state government can function to deliver good governance to the people of the state. We have no other interest on the issue. We are not going to do what the judiciary is mandated to do.

“We are not into anything, but interested in facts, so that when the 109 senators come out with their resolution, the world will see that we are doing the right thing. We are doing only those things that will promote the happiness of this nation.”

Speaking on behalf of the state lawmakers – elect, Hon. Washington Osa Osifo, explained that they are 14 lawmakers and not 12. He said that the other two took permission to attend to pressing issues.

Vanguard

Laying the foundation of what transpired in the state Assembly, Hon. Osifo, explained that when the 6th assembly came to an end on the 7th of June, they were expecting the 7th assembly to kick off immediately, according to the relevant section of the Constitution, but that never happen.

According to him, 10 days later, which was on the 17th of June, when they were getting worried, they approached the governor, who told them that he will make the proclamation when it is convenient.

Osifo further explained that they have to hold press conference to impress it on the governor why he should make the proclamation and also appeal to relevant minds to prevail on him.

He disclosed that they were not invited for the inauguration of the 7th assembly, which he said took place about 8pm, adding that they made several calls to some of their members and the Clerk, who were part of the inauguration.

He said that it was when pictures of the inauguration were coming out on social media that they discovered that the inauguration had actually taken place.

Osifo added that when they held a press conference on the 18th of June, a day after to condemned the inauguration, the Chief Security Officer (CSO) of the governor led thugs with sophiscated weapons to disrupt the conference, adding that they were detained by the Police, who they thought were there to rescue them.

He further explained that they have to bail themselves after spending more than five hours at the police station, where they were trickisly entertained with sweets and bitter kolas.

The lawmaker explained that after the police issue, where they were accused of unlawful assembly, they have been in Abuja for the past one month for the safety of their lives, lamenting that they are tired and want to go home, where they were elected as lawmakers.

Osifo said: “I have been mandated by my colleagues to speak on behalf of others. On the 7th of June, the last Assembly came to an end in Edo State. What we thought was that the next Assembly will be inaugurated immediately.

“We had a Governor who was supposed to perform his duty by issuing the proclamation. We met with the Governor privately three times. We realised that the Governor was unwilling to do his job. We had a press conference to prevail on the Governor to issue the proclamation.

“At about 6pm on the same day, we got a call from the Clerk. He said he was going to call us back. He never did. At about 9.30pm, we got a call that they had barricaded the road leading to the Assembly complex. The vehicle used in blocking the road was from the Government House.”

After this, both the Senators and Edo State House of Assembly members- elect went into a closed session and Journalists were asked to leave the hall.

Addressing Journalists shortly after the meeting that lasted for about three hours, Senator Abdullahi said that Justice will be served, appealing to all parties involved to exercise restrain and not to fan the ember of crisis, just as he warned that if the issue was not properly handled, it would snowball into unprecedented avoidable crisis, adding, “we are dealing with sensitive issue.”

Abdullahi had asked the 12 Edo lawmakers if they got any message for the proclamation, to this, the lawmakers- elect said they didn’t get any message nor saw any advert either from the print or electronic media.

The Senator said: “We will try as much as possible to look at the issue without emotion, we want to look at the issues and get to the bottom and profer a solution.

“Ours is to stick to what the Constitution provides for us. The Senate is concerned about This development. The Senate is determined to do justice on this matter. We will come out with resolutions that will guide future occurrence.”

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