By Ozioruva Aliu, Benin-City,
Edo state chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP has faulted the reconciliatory move by Governor Godwin Obaseki to bring 14 lawmakers –elect into the house of assembly.
Obaseki had on Thursday announced a three-man committee which has Plateau State governor, Solomon Lalong, Lagos State Governor Babajde Sanwo-Olu and Senator Ehigie Uzamere to reconcile the lawmakers and bring them into the house as part of his efforts to reconcile the sharply divided All Progressives Congress in the state.
In a statement by his Special Adviser, Media and Communication Strategy, Crusoe Osagie, the governor said the constitution of the reconciliation committee is part of moves to restore harmony and peace in the state chapter of the APC insisting that he is committed to peace and that a united front would make the party stronger, more cohesive and help to foster more development in the state.
He added that the committee, which commences work with immediate effect, would reach out to all parties in the dispute and ensure that all grey areas are addressed to make for peaceful resolution of the matter.
But the Publicity Secretary of the PDP in the state, Chris Nehikhare in a statement said the move was ill-timed as the case is already in court since the 14 seats were declared vacant and the PDP has applied to be joined as interested party.
He said “Our party points out that there is nowhere in our laws and lexicon where persons who have not reported for duty, whose seats in the assembly have been declared vacant and the constituencies deemed unrepresented can be referred to as members-elect.
“The constitution by the Governor of a “reconciliation committee” has brought serious confusion to the polity regarding the legality or otherwise of this committee especially as;
“The embattled 14 ex-House of Assembly members-elect had, on December 12, 2019, approached the court, seeking an order of interim injunction restraining the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from conducting by-elections in respect of their seats declared vacant by the speaker on December 4, 2019, pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice dated December 10, 2019.
“ The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has approached the Federal High Court, Abuja, seeking an order to join the party as defendant in the suit brought by the aggrieved 14 ex-House of Assembly members-elect.
“Edo PDP through its lawyer, Barbara Omosun, in suit number: FHC/ABJ//CS/1582/2019, told Justice Ahmed Mohammed that as a registered political party, it was entitled to field candidates in the seats declared vacant by the Speaker of the States House of Assembly.
“PDP argued that the Assembly was duly proclaimed on June 17, 2019, a position that has always been held and canvassed by Governor Obaseki and his party APC following the proclamation letter to the effect by Gov. Godwin Obaseki.
“ PDP rights and interest might be adversely affected by the court’s decision hence we joined the suit as soon as we became aware of it.
“It is pertinent to remind the Governor that they have ceased to be referred to, or described as lawmakers-elect or lawmakers. The speaker declared their seats vacant. The Governor should know that the seats are no longer available to them.
The Edo State House of Assembly is not a property of APC neither are the constituency seats bargaining tools in their political bartering.”