By Ozioruva Aliu, Benin-City
The Edo State chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Hon Tony Azegbiemi has called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct by-election into 14 seats of the state house of assembly which were declared vacant in December 2019 by the factional Speaker loyal to Governor Godwin Obaseki, Hon Frank Okiye.
Azegbiemi in a television interview monitored in Benin yesterday said the party would formally write INEC to conduct fresh elections as he said the people in the constituencies were being denied representation in the state house of assembly.
He said: “We are very worried because about a million people have lost their voices in the house of assembly; their voices are not being heard, nobody is talking about them, nobody is representing their interests.
We are worried about it because these are people that voted for the party, they voted for the governor in the last governorship election and we want them to be represented in the house of assembly and apart from the demand we are making now for INEC to commence the process, we are going to follow it up with a letter as a party, we are going to write INEC officially to carry out its constitutional responsibility by conducting election into this 14 constituencies.”
Efforts to reach the factional Speaker, Hon Victor Edoror was not successful as he did not pick repeated calls and same for one of the members of the factional assembly, Washington Osifo.
But an aide to one of the members who refused to speak officially said “You cannot declare a seat that was not occupied vacant because it was not occupied in the first place so how can you declare it vacant? They are just making noise, that is an issue already in court”
It would be recalled that Osifo said shortly after their seats were declared vacant that “It is a laughing matter, it is a joking matter, the matter is before a court and when a matter is before the court such action is prejudice. We are challenging the illegal inauguration of the house and anything put on nothing cannot stand.”
It would be recalled that a factional assembly comprising of 17 out of the 24 members was inaugurated recently where they elected Edoror as Speaker and in its several sittings declared some actions of Governor Godwin Obaseki like nomination and clearing of fresh commissioners and the move to secure loan for infrastructure from a commercial bank as illegal.