Edo Assembly speaker resigns, swaps position with deputy

From left, Edo State governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole; Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Honourable (Dr) Justin Okonoboh and the deputy speaker, Honourable Elizabeth Ativie, during a visit to introduce the new leadership of the Assembly to the governor, on Monday.

The speaker of the Edo State House of Assembly, Honourable (Mrs) Elizabeth Ativie, has resigned her position  while her deputy,  Honourable Justin Okonoboh, has been elected new speaker of the assembly.

Ativie, however, emerged deputy speaker of the assembly in a move many see as political ahead of  the governorship election in the state next month.

The motion for change of leadership in the assembly was moved by the Majority Leader, Folly Ogedegbe, while Honourable Chris Okaeben, seconded it.

Honourable Ativie, in her remarks, said that she was stepping down as  a  speaker for the good of the state and that such sacrifice was not too much for her to pay.

Honourable Okonoboh, thereafter, was sworn-in as speaker and Honourable Ativie as deputy speaker, after 18 lawmakers gave their support to the change of guard in the assemby.

The new speaker promised to run an all-inclusive government that will not leave anybody out.

The resignation of Ativie, who represents Uhumwonode constituency in the Edo South (Benin) district, is seen as part of a move by the All Progressives Congress (APC), to redistribute the sharing of political offices among the three senatorial zones in the state.

The emergence of Ativie in May, following the removal of Victor Edoror  (Esan central), had left the Edo Central senatorial district with no representative among the top three political offices in the state, a situation the state governor and the ruling party, have been battling to correct.

It was gathered that what played out on the floor of the assembly on Monday, was finalised last week, after Ativie finally agreed to resign her position so that a lawmaker from the Edo Central zone would emerge the new speaker so as to pacify the people of the area ahead of the September 10 governorship election.

The lot fell on Okonoboh to emerge the new speaker following moves by Governor Adams Oshiomhole to bring back the impeached speaker, Victor Edoror, who is the only two-time APC lawmaker in the assembly, was resisted by his lawmakers.

The APC and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), have three lawmakers each among the six lawmakers representing the Edo Central district in the assembly.