By Ozioruva Aliu
BENIN CITY – THERE was drama at the plenary of Edo state House of Assembly yesterday as nine out of the ten members sitting impeached the Speaker, Hon Frank Okiye over alleged high handedness and financial impropriety.
A new speaker, Hon Marcus Onobun representing Esan West constituency was elected and immediately sworn in after which he dissolved all the existing committees and also terminated all appointments made by the former speaker adding that a three man committee would look into the finances of the house. Okiye was also suspended for three weeks.
The incident looked like a coup oblivious of some members of the state executive as the Deputy Governor, Comrade Philip Shaibu, Secretary to State Government, Osarodion Ogie and a Special Adviser to Governor Godwin Obaseki Hon Kabiru Adjoto rushed to the venue of the sitting but the lawmakers had commenced sitting locked inside the hall.
The nine lawmakers included the three All Progressives Congress (APC) inaugurated members as the other seven led by Okiye last week formally announced their defection to the Peoples Democratic Party.
The drama in the sitting started after plenary resumed and Okiye instructed the clerk of the house to announce the business of the day when the Majority Leader, Hon Henry Okhuarobo representing Ikpoba Okha constituency raised in issue of urgent public importance where he said there was a petition against Okiye signed by nine of them.
Okiye was told to step down as the Deputy Speaker, Hon Roland Asoro took over proceedings.
Okhuarobo’s motion was seconded by the member representing Akoko-Edo I constituency, Prince Yekini Idaiye.
Thereafter the member representing Igueben constituency, Ephraim Aluebhosele moved a motion to nominate the new speaker which was seconded by the member representing Akoko-Edo II, Emmanuel Agbaje.
Okiye told Vanguard on the phone that “Well that is how I see it, nobody has told me what I did. There is nothing spectacular, there is nothing new, I just remain myself and I am very calm.”
On his part Onobun when asked whether the development was earlier planned said “The legislature is an institution and the members have the powers to run their activities and our powers are drawn from the membership strength and if the members so decide what they want and it is a unanimous decision and no dissenting voice, then so be it.”
Okhuarobo said “the members have compelling reasons to do what they did and the house needed to wait till now because of political reasons and now the process is over. Irrespective of APC or PDP, we are united in the quest to move the state forward.”
Many of the aides to the former speaker and workers including police personnel attached to him were seen stranded as at the time of this report while the official vehicle of the Speaker was sandwiched between two other vehicles at the hall in government house where the house has been holding plenary.