By Jethro Ibileke/Benin
Speaker of the Edo State House of Assembly, Frank Okiye on Wednesday said the House rejected the recommendation of the House of Representatives’ call for the issuance of another proclamation by Governor Godwin Obaseki, or it seals the Assembly.
The Rep. Abdulrazak Namdas-led Ad-hoc Committee of lower chamber has threatened to take over the Edo State House of Assembly over the crisis rocking it, in line with Section 11(4) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended.
The House, however, said it would not carry out the threat if the Governor of the state, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, issues a fresh proclamation to inaugurate the 7th Edo State House of Assembly within one week in line with Section 105(3) of the constitution.
The report also added that Obaseki should publish the date, time and venue of the inauguration in any national daily and television station.
But Okiye, in a statement he personally signed, said the move did not come to them as a surprise, adding that it was clear that the ad-hoc committee was up to no good.
“It has come to our knowledge that the Ad-hoc Committee of the House of Representatives investigating issues surrounding the inauguration of the Edo State House of Assembly has recommended that the Inspector General of Police (IGP) and Department of State Services (DSS) should seal up the Assembly.
“Considering what we came to know in the course of this process, the recommendation of the Ad-Hoc committee does not come to us as a surprise.
“For example, the chattered plane marked 5N FCT, which brought the committee members to Benin City, was paid for by the National Chairman of All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, who is a major party in the disagreement.
“Also, the younger brother to the National Chairman, Seid Oshiomhole, in a recent leaked audio conversation, revealed the underhand dealings in Abuja regarding the matter. He stated that Oshiomhole and his proxies have been having meetings with the committee members and other actors in the issue in Abuja and dolling out money to ensure the issue goes in their favour.
“With all these, it was clear that the ad-hoc committee was up to no good. Their report was always going to be biased.
“Moreover, we want to draw the attention of the general public and the Police to a subsisting court order restraining the Police, headed by the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu; the National Working Committee of the APC; the DSS and their agents, from interfering in the affairs of the Assembly, as the House has been going about its activities peacefully and without rancor.
“The National Assembly must take note that they are expected to act as agents of peace and not merchants of crisis. Edo State has always been peaceful and any attempt for them to carry out this order will certainly disrupt the peace that is currently being enjoyed in the state.
“In a time like this in which the nation is being engulfed in one form of violence or the order, it is unfortunate that the House of Representatives is seen to be promoting violence and exacerbating the tension in the country,” Okiye said.
Meanwhile, the Senate Ad-hoc Committee investigating the crisis rocking the Edo State House of Assembly (EDHA) over the inauguration of the 7th Assembly, on Wednesday paid a fact-finding visit to the state.
The seven-man Committee led by Senator Aliu Sabi Abdullahi, visited the State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, members of the Assembly and the Benin Monarch, Oba Ewuare ll.
They later held a closed-door meeting with 10 members of House, led by the Speaker, Frank Okiye.
Addressing journalists, Senator Abdullahi, said the Senate attached priority to the crisis.
“We are in Edo State on a fact-finding mission, to find out what happened, with respect to the crisis on the inauguration of this Assembly. Our objective is simple: to know what exactly happened, with a view to finding a lasting solution to the issue.
“For us in the Senate or National Assembly, the constitution allows us to interfere in a way in the crisis in any of the state assemblies to restore law and order.
“We have the constitutional duties to look into the issues with a view to ensuring that all is well. I am convinced beyond reasonable doubt that the civility of this state is not in doubt. Edo State enjoys parliamentary civility.
“We are here to get the facts; ours is to articulate and prepare the facts and lay it the way they are before the 109 senators who will do justice to the issue. I assure you that we are out for the good of this state and its people,” he said.
Earlier in his office, Obaseki thanked the committee for finding time to visit the state to get first-hand information on the issue at the state assembly.
He said he knew pressure was being mounted on some individuals on the matter but expressed confidence in the capacity of the committee to do justice to the matter for the interest of the state, country and democracy.
The Governor added that his administration in the last two and half years has continued to pursue peace and order in the state without any political crisis.
“It is a very sad situation as we never anticipated this will happen. We are happy your committee is here on a fact-finding mission. If this has been done by the leadership of my party, we will not have gotten where we are today.”
He said the constitution is clear on issues at the Assembly as he had issued a proclamation letter.
“I have fulfilled my constitutional responsibility, I believe in the separation of powers. There were issues and we expected that those in higher authority should have stepped in to ensure it is resolved but now the matter is in court. I am sure the 109 members will look at the facts dispassionately because I know you are men of integrity.”