By Osaigbovo Iguobaro, Benin
The Peoples Democratic party, Edo State Chapter has rejected plot by the All Progressives Congress (APC) to inaugurate the 12 absentee lawmakers-members elect of Eeo State House of Assembly for the exercise, nine months after the 7th Assembly was proclaimed, amid criticisms.
In a press release signed by the State Publicity Secretary of PDP, Chris Nehikhare on Friday, the party warned that such hypotheses of behavioural science does not conform with Constitution.
He described the purported directive by an Abuja based lawmakers-elect, representing Uhunmwode Constituency, Mr Washington Osifo who claim to be speaking on behalf of the group as laughable.
Recall that the Speaker of Edo State House of Assembly, Mr Frank Okiye, had in December 2019 declared the seats of the 12 APC members-elect who were yet to present themselves for inauguration and two others who failed to meet the minimum sitting days as required by law, vacant.
The seats declared vacant are Etsako West I, Etsako West II, Owan East, Owan West, Etsako Central, Etsako East, and Esan Central.
Others are Uhunmwonde, Oredo East, Oredo West, Egor, Ovia North East I, Ovia North East II and Ovia South West I.
The Speaker of the house, Mr Francis Okiye, insisted two of those affected from Oredo East and Owan East, were sworn-in but failed to meet the mandatory 181-day sitting requirement for a member in a calendar year.
Nehikhare emphasized in the statement that: “The Edo State House of Assembly is not a property of APC neither are the constituency seats bargaining tools in their political bazaar”.
He advised the absentee lawmakers and their co-travellers to to stay away from the Assembly, pending the determination of the substantive suit filed by the Claimants regarding resolution of the imbroglio surrounding the 14 Constituencies is determined and exhausted by the court.
“The Edo State House of Assembly is not a property of APC neither are the constituency seats bargaining tools in their political bazaar”.
“Edo people are too sophisticated for Mr Washington Osifo and APC to treat with disdain and not expect consequences.
“Barr Osifo and his co-travellers are advised to stay away from EDHA as those 14 seats belong to PDP Candidates who have rightly approached the courts and argued that the refusal/neglect by you and your co- travelers to subscribe to the Oath of membership/allegiance with respect to the affected constituencies throughout the First Session and First Quarters of the 7th Assembly of Edo State amounts to abdication of office.
“I can’t reconcile why you think you can still lay claims to being a lawmaker even after the speaker declared your seats vacant”, according to Nehikhare.
The gulf between the State governor, Godwin Obaseki and his predecessor and the national Chairman of APC, Adams Oshiomhole, widened after the nocturnal inauguration and election of the Speaker, Mr Frank Okiye by nine out 24-APC members of the house of Assembly on June 17, 2019.