Edo crisis: Oshiomhole, Obaseki return to trenches

As APC chairman insists on removal of Speaker

The troubleshooting initiative to reconcile the Edo State governor, Godwin Obaseki and his godfather, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole may have hit the rocks.

The two top chieftains of the All Progressives Congress (APC) are principal actors in the crisis rocking the Edo State House of Assembly.

Nine lawmakers of the Edo State Assembly had elected the Speaker of the State parliament, Honourable Frank Okiye.

The process had since been rejected by the other 15 lawmakers believed to have the backing of the national chairman of the party who incidentally is from Edo state.

Findings revealed that both chambers of the National Assembly had issued proclamations to take over the legislative business in Edo State, except the Assembly reverses itself on the election of Honourable Okiye as Speaker.

The Senate and the House of Representatives premised their resolutions on the findings of committees led by Senator Sabiu Aliyu Abdullahi and Honourable Abdulrazak Namdas for the respective chambers.

Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and Governor Godwin Obaseki at the end of a recent peace meeting promised to bury their personal differences to ensure that peace returned to the State Assembly.

But speaking in Abuja at the weekend, the APC national chairman vowed not to recognise Honourable Okiye as the Speaker of the Edo State Assembly.

He insisted that the process that produced Honourable Okiye was instigated by Governor Obaseki and it would not be allowed to stand.

He said: “First of all, Okiye is not the Speaker, he is member-elect. I watched the governor say those things but the truth of the matter is that he knows better than that. The question I will put to you is, is it within the discretion of the state governor to decide who becomes the Speaker?

“The only option for him is to lobby and if he lobbies and in end, he is unable to get everybody to toe his line, he has to concede that these are not his Commissioners or Special Assistants for which he has the absolute monopoly to appoint. But even at that, if they are commissioners, they must be screened by the House of Assembly, that is the law. So if he chooses to put it in the manner that he has, unfortunately, put it, giving the impression that as the governor he can do everything, is there anything in the constitution that you know, that empowers a governor to decide who becomes a Speaker.

“But like every other person in a democracy, you get what you are able to negotiate, the operative word is negotiation, persuasion, that is what we did in Abuja. But in spite of all the efforts we invested at the Federal level, incidentally as the chairman I was active on that, we conceded in the end when Senator Ndume said he will not go the way the party wanted. We could not deny him that right to contest and he went and contested and he got 24 votes.

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“ So that is the way to go, it was not within the power of the President and Commander in Chief to use his state instrument to prevent Ndume from contesting because it is his right so to do. All the President could do which he did was to deploy his influence both through the party and other channels to persuade people to ensure that this time around APC has a national leadership that we believe can work in harmony with the President.

“When I was governor, I went through the same process, we persuade the members, we called all of them, first explained to them the need to ensure geopolitical balance. Sometimes we suggest who we think is better equipped to handle legislative matters. That is how far we can go. Sometimes we succeeded some other times we did not. But the bottom line is that it is the responsibility and absolute prerogative of members of the House to do it”

The APC chairman denied the allegation that his motive for insisting on Honourable Okiye removal as Speaker was to perfect an orchestrated plot to impeach Governor Obaseki.

“Okiye being the beneficiary of the purported inauguration, and he says the agenda is to impeach Obaseki, did he tell you what offence Obaseki has committed, is he known to have committed any impeachable offence. Is it true that somebody who has just been elected, he has not even been inaugurated his first agenda is to disturb the system by seeking to impeach a governor who is not known to have committed any offence? Is impeachment a tea party? It does not make sense.

“By the way who is Okiye, does he know what was invested in the making of the governor? Can he possibly lay claim to loving the governor more than those of us who went around the state and stake our reputation and invest our energy and persuasive skill to market the governor to the people? If there is one man that wants governor Obaseki to succeed so that everything I said on his behalf comes to pass, I think it will be me.

“I have absolutely nothing to gain if someone I told the people will do well end up not doing well or I make a statement that contradicts my earlier position. Because all I have that I brought to this job called politics is integrity. And integrity is about being consistent and sometimes being predictable. So Godwin knows that I have no quarrel whatsoever with him, but I do not think that it is right to inaugurate the House of Assembly at night.

“ Exactly the same way the governor of Bauchi said Oshiomhole is his problem. Let me say that one day, we may have a President who may decide to order the military to make sure that they secure the National Assembly and allow maybe ¼ of members to go in at 12midnight to elect a Senate President and Speaker and then thereafter whoever wishes to be inaugurated can go one by one. That will be a sad day for democracy.

“And you know as they say, when a child starts stealing a piece of meat from the mother’s pot, he might grow to become an armed robber. So if we refuse to defend the letter and the spirit of the constitution, as regards to how the legislative arm of government will come into play and we reduce it to individual contestation, it will be unfortunate for democracy not me at all. I am never going to be governor again”.

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