…Only judiciary is empowered to make such declaration —Edo govt
By Omeiza Ajayi
National Chairman of All Progressives Congress, APC, Mr Adams Oshiomhole, has said he will not be drawn into supporting Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State in the latter’s determined bid to have Mr Frank Okiye remain as Speaker of the state House of Assembly.
Insisting that Okiye is not the Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Oshiomhole said he would not close his eyes to illegal decisions and actions capable of derailing the nation’s democracy.
Meanwhile, the state government has insisted that only the judiciary is empowered to make such a declaration, as the role of Governor Obaseki in the inauguration of the Edo State House of Assembly, and the emergence of Okiye as Speaker began and ended with the issuance of the proclamation.
Oshiomhole in a statement, yesterday, in Abuja by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Simon Ebegbulem, said: “First of all, Okiye is not the Speaker, he is a member-elect. I watched the governor say those things but the truth of the matter is that he knows better than that.
“The question I will put to you is: is it within the discretion of a state governor to decide who becomes the speaker? The only option for him is to lobby and if he lobbies and at the end he is unable to get everybody to toe his line, he has to concede as these are not his commissioners or special assistants for which he has absolute monopoly to appoint.
“But even at that, if they are commissioners, they must be screened by the House of Assembly, that is the law. So if he chooses to put it in the manner that he has unfortunately put it, giving the impression that as the governor he can do everything, is there anything in the constitution that you know that empowers a governor to decide who becomes a speaker?
“But, like every other person in a democracy, you get what you are able to negotiate, the operative word is negotiation, persuasion, that is what we did in Abuja. Despite all the efforts we invested at the federal level, incidentally as the chairman, I was active in that, we conceded in the end when Senator Ndume said he would not go the way the party wanted. We could not deny him that right to contest and he went and contested and he got 24 votes.
“So, that is the way to go, it was not within the powers of the president and Commander-in-Chief to use state instrument to prevent Ndume from contesting because it is his right so to do.
“All the president could do, which he did, was to deploy his influence through the party and other channels to persuade people to ensure that this time around APC has a National Assembly leadership that we believe can work in harmony with the President.
Only judiciary is empowered to make such declaration—Edo govt
Meanwhile, Special Adviser on Media to Governor Obaseki, Mr Crusoe Osagie, while reacting, said: “ The role of Governor Obaseki in the inauguration of the EDHA and the emergence of Okiye as speaker began and ended with the issuance of the proclamation.
“To the best of our knowledge, all the requirements of the law were followed by the House of Assembly on its inauguration and election of principal officers.
“Meanwhile, the judiciary has been approached by all contending parties in the argument to provide interpretation. It will be wise to leave the final declaration to the courts as it is subjudicial to make sweeping statements about the matter in violation of the powers of the judiciary.”