The Edo State House of Assembly has commuted the impeachment of its former speaker, Hon Francis Abumere Okiye, Esan North-East 1, to resignation.
Likewise, the assembly also lifted the three-month suspension slammed on the former speaker when he was impeached and accepted him back into the house.
Okiye, it would be recalled, was impeached on Monday by the 10-man House of Assembly, when the house, unanimously adopted the motion for his impeachment moved by the Majority Leader, Hon. Henry Okuanobo, Ikpoba-Okha constituency.
Hon. Marcus Onobun from Esan West constituency was elected speaker in replacement and the house slammed Okiye with a three-month suspension, just as a three-man panel was set up to investigate the financial dealings of the house while Okiye held sway as the speaker.
However, at plenary on Wednesday, the Majority Leader, Okuarobo, moved a motion for the house to commute the impeachment to resignation, following pleas by the constituents the members represent.
The motion was seconded by Hon. Emma Okondua, Esan North-East II, and was unanimously adopted by the house.
Following that, Okhuarobo again rose to move another motion, to wit: that the suspension of the former speaker be lifted and he was seconded by Okondua and the motion was unanimously carried.
Thereafter, Okiye was accompanied to the house by one of the former speakers of the house, Hon Kabiru Adjoto, who is currently the Special Adviser to Governor Godwin Obaseki on Legislative Matters, and received in plenary by his other colleagues.
The speaker of the house, Onbun also read a letter from the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to the effect that house should appoint Hon. Emma Okodua as the Chief Whip of the house.
Speaking after the plenary, Okhuarobo maintained that Onobun remained the speaker, stressing that the decisions to commute Okiye’s impeachment to resignation and recall him from suspension were taken in the interest of the state and in deference to the intervention by various interest groups.
Also speaking, the Speaker added that the entire house remained solid without any dissent and that the assembly had no issues with the executive arm of government.
In his reaction to the development, the former speaker said that he was happy and felt better.
According to Okiye, “it is those that have not been in parliament that will see what is happening as strange. The office of the speaker is usually at the privilege and the prerogative of the members. They do not really owe anybody any explanation as a matter of reality. Whatever the house describes as misconduct is called misconduct”.
Okiye added that when he discovered that he no longer enjoyed the confidence of other members and realised that something had gone wrong, it was honourable for him to step aside, but unfortunately, the house was not able to get to that aspect of the Order Paper, when he was impeached.
“We have met and cleared that it was not necessary that we should go the route of impeachment and that my resignation letter which I had tendered should stand and I am sure that was what played out, though I was not there. I am happy that members could see it my own way and agreed to deal”, he said.