Edo speaker impeached - SALIENT TIMES ONLINE

Edo speaker impeached

Share This
By Our Correspondent


Francis Okiye, speaker of Edo state house of assembly, has been removed.


Okiye was removed over allegations of “high-handedness” following a motion moved by Henry Okhurobo, house majority leader, and seconded by Yekini Idaiye, lawmaker representing Akoko-Edo I.

The impeachment letter was said to have been signed by nine of 10 assembly members at the plenary session on Monday.

Marcus Onobun, representing Esan-west constituency, was immediately sworn in as the new speaker.

Though details of what led to the impeachment are still sketches, it was gathered that Okiye would have been removed last week but for the last-minute intervention by Governor Godwin Obaseki.

The Edo Assembly, as it is presently constituted, is made up seven Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, embers and three All Progressive Congress, APC, members.

14 other members-elect stayed off the inauguration of the House on June 17, 2019, when Governor Obaseki issued the proclamation for the inauguration of the legislative arm.

While the 14 others had on August 6, 2020, inaugurated themselves in a private residence at Ugbor GRA, of the state capital, Benin, where they elected Victor Edoror as the speaker.

Okiye, it would be recalled, had week decamped to the PDP alongside six other members, while the remaining three members, who participated in the June 2019 inauguration remain in the APC

Salient Times report that the crisis rocking the Assembly began when it was inaugurated under controversial circumstances at night with only nine, out of 24 lawmakers-elect, on June 17, 2019, following an alleged proclamation by Governor Godwin Obaseki.

The 14 lawmakers, who were not part of the process, as well as the All Progressives Congress, rejected the process and called on the governor to issue a fresh proclamation.
 
However, a Federal High Court in Rivers State barred the governor from doing so. A separate court also barred the National Assembly from taking over the Edo Assembly.

This worsened the crisis within the APC in the state and deepened the feud between Obaseki and his predecessor, Adams Oshiomhole, who was also the National Chairman of the APC.

The governor was believed to have orchestrated the suspension of Oshiomhole from the party at the ward level. In retaliation, Oshiomhole ensured that Obaseki did not clinch the governorship ticket of the APC while Osagie Ize-Iyamu emerged as the winner of the primary.

An attempt by the aggrieved lawmakers to be inaugurated was, however, scuttled by men claiming to be renovating the Assembly complex.

However, the APC claimed the men were thugs hired by the governor who was afraid of being impeached.

Salient Times also reported that the governor, who later dumped the APC for the Peoples Democratic Party, said shortly after he won the September 19 poll that he lacked the power to bring back the 14 lawmakers yet to be inaugurated.

Obaseki explained that the 14 lawmakers “refused to be inaugurated”.

He said, “They were listening to their godfather who kept hoping and promising that he would unconstitutionally get the state House of Assembly to reissue a proclamation even after the court had settled the matter.

“For more than 180 days they did not come. They refused to represent the people. Those seats became vacant; that’s what the constitution says.

“They went to court after the seats were declared vacant by the Speaker. There is nothing I can do to that at this time.

“I wish it did not happen but people were playing God and promising what is not constitutionally possible.

“It is not about me. I am an elected governor of Edo. I am not one that planted people into the house of Assembly.

“They, on their own, operated the rules the way it should be, the seats are now vacant.

“We should learn that democracy is underpinned by the constitution and the law.

“Even if I wanted today to bring them back, I don’t have such powers.

“I do not have anything against them because I do not have such authority to bring them back to the house.”