A parallel leadership yesterday emerged at the Edo state House of Assembly, following the alleged impeachment of the Speaker, Hon. Uyigue Igbe, and the Majority Leader, Hon. Philip Shaibu by eight Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) lawmakers.
Two suspended PDP members, Hon. Patrick Osayimwen and Hon. Friday Ogierhiakhi, representing Oredo East and Orhionmwon South constituencies were allegedly beaten to pulp during a bloody clash by thugs loyal to the two rival parties at the precincts of the hallowed chamber.
Tempers were said to have risen when 13 members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) walked into the chamber yesterday morning where the suspended PDP Deputy Speaker, Hon. Festus Ebea, was being voted in as new Speaker of the House. This led to a commotion as suspected thugs loyal to the two parties slugged it out.
The APC members however reconvened for the business of the day after riot policemen dispersed the thugs.
Chairman of the House Committee on Youth, Sports and Information, Hon. Adjotu Kabiru, denied the alleged impeachment of the speaker and the majority leader. He described the PDP sitting as a Kangaroo session. Sergeant-at-Arms of the Assembly, Robert Igiri, alleged that the PDP legislators broke the door to the chamber to hold the alleged illegal session, but confirmed however, that the mace was still intact.
On Monday, the Assembly suspended indefinitely, the deputy speaker, Mr. Ebea, (Esan South East), along with Patrick Osayinmen, (Oredo East) Friday Ogierhiakhi (Orihonmwon) and Jude Ise-Idehen (Ikpoba Okha).
Three out of the suspended lawmakers had in May defected from the APC to the PDP.
Moving the motion for their suspension under matters of urgent public importance, Mr Paul Ohunbamu (APC-Egor), said the affected members had undermined the strength of the House. He accused them of making unguarded utterances.
Ohunbamu said Order 38, rule 3 of the house rules empowered the house to suspend any member who was found wanting. Also speaking on the motion Mr Adjoto Kabiru, (APC Akoko-Edo) and Chairman, House Committee on Information said the affected lawmakers had constituted themselves into a committee which was approaching other members to defect to the PDP.
“The suspended members since they defected to PDP have been approaching other members and pledging to give them N70 million for them to defect from APC to PDP.
According to him, they have also been holding private meetings that can cause breach of peace in the House. The 10 lawmakers, who attended the session, later approved the motion suspending their colleagues.
The Speaker, Mr. Igbe, therefore, directed the clerk to retrieve all official property in their possession.
Meanwhile, suspected gunmen yesterday reportedly invaded the Edo state Legislators’ Quarters on Ihama Road, GRA in Benin City.
The hoodlums were said to have laid siege at the main entrance of the quarters for hours and shot sporadically, halting human and vehicular movements in the area.
Majority leader of the Assembly, Mr. Shaibu, who conducted newsmen round the quarters, alleged that the suspended deputy speaker, Mr. Ebea, was responsible for the attack.
In a swift reaction, however, Mr. Ebea dismissed the allegation and described “the rumours of defection from the APC to PDP as an imagination of the APC legislators led by the Majority Leader, Hon. Philip Shaibu”.
There was stampede at the Oba Market in the city as a combined team of security operatives fired tear-gas canisters severally while attempting to prevent party supporters from gaining entrance into the Assembly complex.
Some traders at the market, who preferred anonymity, accused the government of not doing enough to protect lives and properties.
Meanwhile, Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo state yesterday sacked Captain Felix Omokhodion, his Senior Special Assistant on Projects Monitoring, “in the public interest”.
Omokhodion was directed to hand over all government property in his possession to the Office of the Secretary to the State Government (SSG) within 24 hours.