By Osaigbovo Iguobaro, Benin
Plans by three suspended members of Edo State house of Assembly to break into the State house of Assembly Complex and inaugurate the 12-members-elect who were elected on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has been stalled by youths and women in the State.
On Thursday move by the politicians, followed attempt by three suspended lawmakers of the house and two others who seats were declared vacant by the led by the former Deputy Speaker, Hon. Yekini Idiaye to forcefully break into the Assembly Complex, hold plenary and inaugurate the 12-members-elect that are loyal to the former Governor of the State, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole.
Yekini Idiaye and Clifford Agbaje, members representing Akoko-Edo Constituency 1 and 2, and Hon. Nosayaba Okunbor, Orhiomwon East Constituency on Tuesday openly endorsed the Candidate APC in the forthcoming Governorship election in the State, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu.
Recall that the Deputy Speaker of the Assembly, Hon. Yekini Idiaye was impeached on Wednesday during a plenary session of the Assembly.
But, the factional Speaker of the Assembly, Hon. Frank Okiye Tuesday during the Peoples Democratic party (PDP) campaign rally for the election in Ward 3 in Akoko-Edo Local Government Area of the State, distanced members of the house from the purported endorsement.
Armed police operatives stormed the Assembly complex which had been shutdown over Covid-19 scare and renovation months ago while patrol vehicles were stationed around the area at about 6:30.a.m.
The ongoing operation which was led by the Deputy Commissioner of Police (Operations) in Edo State Command, Ayoola Ajala, was to forestall alleged planned attack on the facility.
Again, the factional Speaker of the house of Assembly, Mr. Frank Okiye while addressing the crowd who occupied the Assembly Complex, fingers police authorities of aiding the suspended lawmakers to cause crisis in the Assembly which was proclaimed on June 17, 2019, amidst protest by the aggrieved members-elect.
He accused Imo State Governor and the Deputy National Vice Chairman of Edo APC Governorship Campaign Council, Mr Hope Uzodinma of arming political thugs to invade the House of Assembly.
He also described the attempt by the suspended lawmakers to forcefully take over the leadership of the house, described the plot as “treasonable and will be resisted by the Nigerians.
“They (suspended members of the Assembly and members-elect) have no legitimacy whatsoever to be called members of the house.
“These crowd that you are seeing were not mobilised.
“The old legislative quarters at the Government house is where we are holding plenary because the Assembly complex is undergoing renovation.
He reiterated that Edo State house of Assembly moved its sitting to the Old Exco Chamber in the State Government house to pave the way for the ongoing renovation work at the Assembly Complex in Benin City.
He said the project for the renovation was stalled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to him , “COVID-19 may not have allowed the contractors. I am sure the Contractors that are handling the renovation work will continue their work soon.
“They are home and dry. They do not know what to do”, he declared.
Our Correspondent reports that while the solidarity rally by youths in support of the re-election of Governor Godwin Obaseki for a second term in office was ongoing, three tipping trucks, had offloaded six tonnes of granite at the entrance of the Assembly Complex.
The Assembly Complex had undergone renovation twice after the roof was formerly removed shortly before the re-election of Adams Oshiomhole in 2012.
Soon after the police personnel from Abuja were allegedly chased away, carpenters moved into the Assembly Complex and removed the room while youths who echoed “4+4 must be completed (4+4 torgba), Edo is not Lagos State” mantra, vowed to return Governor Obaseki into office.
It was learnt that the arrival of the State Deputy Governor, Hon. Philip Shaibu, inspired the youths.
After beating retreat in their quest to take over the house leadership, the suspended Lawmakers and Pro-Oshiomhole lawmakers, unveiled Mr Victor Tiger Edoror, representing Esan Central Senatorial district as the new Speaker of the splinter group at a private residence on Thursday in Benin City.
Responding to the development, Edo State Publicity Secretary of Peoples Democratic party, Mr Chris Nehikhare on Thursday, called on Edo people to resist the move by the All Progressives Congress to cause crisis in the legislative arm.
“All Edo persons of goodwill should reject this brazen attack on our democracy and resist it.
“We hereby call on all Edo people to march to the House of Assembly complex in Kings Square in support of democracy and against this impunity.
“We cannot continue this way”, he said.
As at the time of filing this report, Governor Godwin Obaseki and his Deputy, Philip Shaibu, have visited the State house of Assembly to supervise the renovation work at the Complex.
While that was ongoing, the family members of the State Deputy Governor in Auchi in Etsako West Local Government Area of the State embarked on marathon prayer avert tragedy and disgrace.
In the meantime, Edo PDP has suspended its Governorship Campaign arising from the development.
The party is yet to give the reasons for the action, but, a leader of the party, said that Thursday campaign in Okpella, Etsako East Local Government Area of the State, has been “ put on hold. You are aware that the Governor and his Deputy left Auchi for Benin City at about 4:a.m on Thursday.
Responding to the development, Mr. Kenneth Imasuangbon, Edo State PDP Governorship aspirant, predicted victory for the incumbent Governor of the State, Godwin Obaseki.
Imasuangbon commended the duo for demonstration capacity.
He said: “I must advice the Governor that when he comes back, he must work more and finish up well and strong because the Bible says that the end of a man is better than the beginning. He has done well in his first tenure, little distractions here and there”.
“The leadership of the party will release a fresh guideline for the exercise after due consultation”, he said.