…Edo politics has recently experienced different moves and counter-moves from politicians as the governorship election approaches
The ruling party in Edo State is the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and the main opposition party, the All Progressives Congres (APC) has vehemently vowed to unseat the incumbent governor, Godwin Obaseki who is the crux of the heated rivalry between the two parties.
Both parties have been at loggerheads since political feud between the former National Chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole and Governor Obaseki became a public affair. Obaseki was denied opportunity to contest under the APC as the Screening Committee accused him of discrepancies in certificates and names, making him to defect to the PDP.
This has witnessed several exchanged words and displayed tactics and antics from political gladiators in the state. In the course of the pandemonium, the Deputy Speaker, Hon Yekini Idiaye, who declared his support for APC governorship candidate, Osagie Ize-Iyamu was impeached. This was followed by the invasion of the police at the House of Assembly complex to foil any planned impeachment of the Speaker, Hon Frank Okiye.
Also, some people were seen on the roof dismantling the mace, with the presence of trucks offloading gravels and building materials at the Legislative building while Governor Obaseki addressed his supporters that the House of Assembly was under renovation. Members of the SAR and SSS were the latest security operatives that showed up to show superiority by evacuating the police as believed they were deployed from Abuja.
The drama ensued in another twist as the APC legislators converged in an unknown location to vote new Speaker and Deputy Speaker, Victor Edoror and Emmanuel Agbaje respectively, thus impeaching Frank Okiye. Okiye, however, declared he remained the Speaker, while Ize-Iyamu swiftly congratulated Edoror adding that his emergence as the Speaker has ended a lopsided legislative government in Edo.
Below are seven explicit events occurred recently in Edo State as regards politics.
Rt. Hon. Yekini Idiaye was impeached as the Deputy Speaker for allegedly supporting Ize-Iyamu
The Deputy Speaker of Edo State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Yekini Idiaye was impeached on Wednesday, 5th August, 2020 on alleged gross misconduct and divulgence of official secrets.
His impeachment was an outcome of a motion moved by Hon. Henry Okhuarobo representing Ikpoba-Okha constituency and seconded by Hon. Marcus Onobun representing Esan West constituency.
It would be recalled that Idiaye in the company of some lawmakers including Emmanuel Agbaje representing Akoko-Edo Constituency II and Nosayaba Okunbor representing Orhionmwon North constituency recently endorsed the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Osagie Ize-Iyamu. He was later accused of collecting N40m to remain in the APC.
The impeachment notice was signed by two-third members of the house.
The House of Assembly was besieged by the Police on orders of Governor Obaseki
The men of the Nigeria Police barricaded the entrance and surrounded the entire complex of the Edo State House of Assembly, early Thursday, 6th August, 2020.
The Unicameral Legislative House situated at Ring Road axis of Benin City, Edo capital was besieged following the removal of the deputy speaker of the House on Wednesday to guard against any suspected reprisal antics and tactics of the political opponents.
Read also: Obaseki VS Oshiomhole: a sad tale of how political godfatherism leaves an indelible stain on Nigeria’s democracy
Removal of roof tops and destruction of Mace of the House of Assembly by suspected loyalists of Governor Obaseki
As if it was calculated that the presence of the police would not suffice, some men climbed the roof of the House of Assembly building and were seen removing it.
This was followed by the destruction of mace erected on top of the building which was known to be the symbol of authority of the Legislative Arm of government in Nigeria.
Afterwards, trucks arrived at the complex to offload sands at the entrance of the building and gravels including other building materials, as Governor Godwin Obaseki addressed the people that the complex was undergoing renovation.
All of this drama played out on Thursday, 6th August, 2020.
Governor Obaseki and Hon. Okiye addressed the PDP supporters at the Edo House of Assembly complex
The Governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki, Deputy Governor, Philip Shaibu and the Speaker of the House of Assembly, hon. Frank Okiye arrived at House of Assembly complex on Thursday, 6th August, 2020 with mobilised members and staunch supporters of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
However, it was the two Edo State government leaders from executive and legislature that talked to the people, as the governor declared that the complex was under renovation. He calmed the people to be unwavering in the support for the government and vowed to do all he could to forestall forceful takeover of the complex.
It was gathered that the legislators loyal to the APC were scheming to impeacher the Speaker of the House, Hon. Okiye, which was promptly intercepted by the intervention of the state government leaders.
Special Anti-Robbery (SAR) Squad and State Security Services (SSS) believed to be deployed from Abuja took over the complex
In a swift reactions to the police invasion of the House early Thursday and what was termed to be “order from above” in Nigerian politics, security operatives from the Special Anti-Robbery (SAR) and the State Security Services (SSS) believed to be deployed from Abuja stormed the House and ordered the police to evacuate the complex.
After the emergence of Rt. Hon Victor Edoror as the New Speaker of the House, he called at the Edo State Police Command and urged the Commissioner of Police, Johnson Kokumo to ensure restoration of peace by ejecting thugs that have barricaded the House of Assembly complex at Chief Anthony Enahoro complex at Ring Road, Benin City.
The new Speaker in the name Victor Edoror emerged in Edo House of Assembly after the APC legislators convened in an undisclosed location
As the purported renovation continued at the Edo State House of Assembly on Thursday, 6th August, 2020, some of the All Progressives Congress (APC) lawmakers converged in an undisclosed location to elect Victor Edoror of Esan Central constituency as new Speaker at an emergency plenary session attended by 17 of the 24-member Assembly.
In the same vein, the legislator representing Akoko Edo constituency II, Emmanuel Agbaje, was elected as Deputy Speaker while the 14 members-elect were also installed at the sitting in Benin.
Edoror while addressing the 7th Assembly guaranteed that they would focus on the legislative assignments and never pursue removal of any member of the executives.
He sued for harmony and peace while declaring that there was no victor, no vanquished.
The new Speaker, Edoror also directed security chiefs to expel vandals that occupied the Assembly complex to ascertain a hitch-free plenary sessions from Friday.
Okiye and Ize-Iyamu reacted to the emergence of Edoror as new Speaker of Edo State House of Assembly
In the midst of the political pandemonium, the impeached speaker, Frank Okiye was unperturbed saying he remains the Speaker of the Edo House. He also claimed that the reconvening of the legislative members that impeached him and elected Edoror was unconstitutional.
While speaking on Channels Television, Okiye said: “Well let me say I’m being dragged into all these issues when there’s no basis as a matter of fact.
“I must confess that there are no 17 lawmakers anymore anywhere. The 14 lawmakers whose seats were declared vacant have lost the status.
“So I do not know where they can get the authority to reconvene the House outside the legislative premises.”
In his own remarks, the APC governorship candidate, Ize-Iyamu also declared that it was a victory for Edo State and all constituencies previously suspended.
He said, “His emergence marks an end to a lopsided and deformed democracy, ushering in a new and reformed era of inclusive governance and non-discriminatory politics.
“Rt. Hon. Victor Edoror’s emergence is also a victory for the people of Edo State, for the constituencies previously sidelined, and for the House-members’ elect who had been unfairly denied their elective right to represent their constituencies in government,” the statement read in part.