Political friction has emerged as 17 of the 24 members of the Edo State House of Assembly today announced that they have denounced the Speaker, Mr. Francis Okiye. They also stated that they have denounced the newly inaugurated Deputy Speaker, Roland Asoro. The 17 members of the legislature include 14 members whose seats have been declared vacant and three additional members of the Assembly.
The 14 members of the legislature were sworn in at a private place, after which they joined forces with three others to prosecute Okiye and Asoro. The 17 members of the legislature had pledged their allegiance to Osagie Ize-Iyamu, the candidate for governor of the All Progressives Congress, in the September 19th gubernatorial election. The 17 members of the legislature also said they had elected Mr Victor Edororor, the new Speaker.
Edoror, who represents Esan Central, is said to have been elected during an emergency plenary session attended by 17 elected members. It was learned on Thursday that the meeting, which took place at an unspecified location in Benin City in the early hours of the day, also saw the election of Emmanuel Agbaje of Akoko Edo Constituency II as Deputy Speaker of the Assembly.
The PUNCH heard from the source that the 14 elected lawmakers who had yet to be inaugurated were immediately inaugurated, during which they allegedly charged Frank Okiye and Roland Asoro as Speaker and Deputy Speaker respectively. The source told the PUNCH that the new Speaker, Victor Edoror, had vowed to concentrate on his legislative duties and not to seek the prosecution of any member of the Executive.
He reportedly called for peace and reconciliation, saying that there was no winner, no winner. Edoror also directed the Edo Police Commissioner, the Inspector General of Police and other security agencies to evacuate the gang leaders who had invaded the Assembly Complex in Benin to allow a rancor-free plenary session on Friday, August 7.
During a visit to the Senate, the state governor said that he would not allow “alien” politicians to take over the state in an unconstitutional manner. On Thursday, some people vandalized the Edo State House of Assembly and removed its roof on the suspected renovation of the Assembly.
According to a video shared by Channels Television, the men were seen removing the iconic legislative mace on top of the building.The video also showed trucks offloading gravels at the entrance of the Assembly Complex while the suspected vandals trooped into the building.
Previously, the PUNCH reported that policemen had surrounded the Assembly complex in Benin City, the state capital, on Thursday. This is just 24 hours after the Deputy Speaker, Yekini Idiaye, was charged by the state legislature. Roland Asoro, a member representing Orhionmwon-South, has since been appointed Deputy Speaker and was immediately given the oath of office.
Police action was gathered in an effort to deter an assault on the complex. Besides the several security officials who blocked the entrance to the complex, patrol cars were also deployed there. However, no security officers were seen in the video shared by Channels Television.
One of our Correspondents stated that the Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, may have ordered the “immediate renovation” of the State Assembly House. Tensions erupted in the Assembly on Thursday morning following the heavy presence of security personnel. Soon after Obaseki and the Speaker, Frank Okiye, addressed the complex to the PDP members, it was learnt that the governor had ordered the heaping of the building.
Several craftsmen were also seen removing the roof of the complex as early as 3PM on Thursday. Earlier, following Idiaye ‘s indictment on Wednesday, Speaker of the House, Frank Okiye, said Idiaye was charged because he allegedly intended to take over the Assembly with the members of the All Progressives Congress and the Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodinma, “illegally and violently.”
In an address aired via social media shortly after Idiaye ‘s indictment, the Speaker called on the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to call the members of his party to order.