Edo Assembly Speaker Francis Okiye Impeached

Edo Sate House of Assembly Complex

 

The Speaker of the Edo House of Assembly, Hon. Francis Okiye has been Impeached.

Okiye’s impeachment followed a motion by the Majority Leader of the House, Hon. Henry Okhurobo.

The impeachment letter was signed by nine of the 10-members who were present at the brief sitting on Monday.

The House has elected Hon. Marcus Onobhu as the new speaker.

Hon Onobhu is representing Esan West constituency.

 

PDP Supporters Protest As Security Operatives Keep Watch At Edo Assembly

PDP supporters protest at the Edo State House of Assembly complex in Benin City on August 7, 2020.

 

Supporters of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have staged a protest at the Edo State House of Assembly complex in Benin City, the state capital.

The protesters, comprising women and youths, stormed the Assembly complex on Friday while security operatives keep watch at the facility for the second day.

They pledged their support for the state governor, Godwin Obaseki, and prayed for peace to reign in the state.

The PDP supporters also threw their weight behind a factional Speaker of the House, Frank Okiye, saying they recognise him only as the leader of the legislative arm of government in Edo.

READ ALSO: 17 Edo Lawmakers Claim To Have Impeached Assembly Speaker

They, however, rejected another factional Speaker of the House, Victor Edoror, who was claimed to have been inaugurated by 17 lawmakers on Thursday.

The protesters also condemned the inauguration of 14 lawmakers-elect in Edo at a private residence in the state capital.

They insisted that the inauguration of the lawmakers was done in violation of the law, stressing that the lawmakers had missed their chance to join the House.

The protest held hours after Governor Obaseki addressed residents of the state where he condemned the takeover of the State House of Assembly complex.

In a state-wide broadcast, he described the incident as an attempted coup d’état that was tantamount to treason and contrary to the provisions of the Nigerian Constitution.

The governor, however, gave an assurance that his administration would take all steps necessary to defend the rule of law and democratic ideals.

“Any person or group of persons who set out to test our will in this regard will meet with the full wrath of the law,” the governor warned.

He added, “These events portend grave danger to the safety and security of our polity. It had all the hallmarks of an attempted coup d’état.

“The people of Edo State rose as one to prevent the desecration of our democracy. It is, however, worrisome that certain persons are willing to plunge the society into avoidable anarchy and conflict just to satisfy their illegitimate objectives.”

Failed Edo Assembly Invasion, An Attempted Coup D’etat – Obaseki

Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, addresses residents in a state-wide broadcast in August 7, 2020.

 

Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, has described the takeover of the State House of Assembly Complex as an attempted coup d’état that is tantamount to treason and contrary to the provisions of the Nigerian Constitution.

He said this in a state-wide broadcast on Friday and gave an assurance that his administration would take all steps necessary to defend the rule of law and democratic ideals.

“Any person or group of persons who set out to test our will in this regard will meet with the full wrath of the law,” the governor warned.

He added, “These events portend grave danger to the safety and security of our polity. It had all the hallmarks of an attempted coup d’état.

“The people of Edo State rose as one to prevent the desecration of our democracy. It is, however, worrisome that certain persons are willing to plunge the society into avoidable anarchy and conflict just to satisfy their illegitimate objectives.”

Governor Obaseki said the crisis in the state legislature dated back to June 17, 2019, when upon his proclamation of the 7th Edo State House of Assembly, some members-elect refused to present themselves for the inauguration.

He explained that a Federal High Court in Port Harcourt, Rivers State had in a judgement delivered on September 12, 2019, held that his proclamation of the House of Assembly was lawful.

According to the governor, the court ruled that the National Assembly cannot take over the function of the Edo State House of Assembly, as the conditions for doing so do not exist.

 

“The court judgement affirmed that the Assembly was duly inaugurated and held that the governor or any other person could not issue another proclamation,” he said.

Governor Obaseki stated, “Even after this judgement, the 14 members-elect stayed away from the House and refused to be inaugurated to perform their elected role of representing their constituencies.

“Having failed to sit for over 180 sitting days, the leadership of the House of Assembly had no option but to declare their seats vacant and requested the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct fresh elections to fill the vacancies that had then been created.”

The governor noted that following the action by the leadership of the House, the 14 members-elect approached a Federal High Court in Abuja to challenge the constitutionality or otherwise of the declaration of their seats vacant.

He alleged that while the suit was still pending in the court, the situation has festered because a former governor of the state was bent on throwing Edo into crisis ahead of the forthcoming governorship election.

Governor Obaseki, however, commended the resolve of the people in standing up to thwart what he described as the evil plans of undemocratic elements committed to perpetrating illegal assault on democracy.

“These events portend grave danger to the safety and security of our polity. It had all the hallmarks of an attempted coup d’état,” he insisted.

The governor added, “It is, however, worrisome that certain persons are willing to plunge the society into avoidable anarchy and conflict just to satisfy their illegitimate objectives. These acts are tantamount to treason, contrary to the provisions of the Nigerian Constitution.”

PHOTOS: What Edo Assembly Legislative Chamber Looks Like After Rooftop Removal

A combination of pictures of some parts of the Edo State House of Assembly taken on August 8, 2020.

 

The picture above shows what the legislative chamber of the Edo State House of Assembly looks like after its rooftop was removed on the order of the state government.

This followed the takeover of the Assembly complex in Benin City, the state capital by security operatives on Thursday purportedly to forestall a plan to attack the facility by some unnamed persons.

Channels Television had reported that police officers comprising operatives attached to the Police Mobile Force and Operation Thunderstorm occupied the complex as early as 8am.

The police were later joined by personnel of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), preventing entry into the Assembly premises.

Thereafter, Governor Godwin Obaseki visited the complex amid chanting by some supporters of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who thronged the scene.

Governor Obaseki was accompanied on the visit by his deputy, Philip Shaibu, and the Speaker of the House, Frank Okiye, claimed to have been impeached by 17 lawmakers in the state.

The governor condemned the action of the security operatives and promised to secure the lives and properties of the people after which he left the scene.

Thereafter, tipper trucks drove to the complex where they off-loaded sand and gravel in front of the Assembly in what the government explained was part of ongoing reconstruction work at the complex.

Some unknown persons climbed the roof of the complex to remove the mace while others believed to be construction workers removed the rooftop of the building.

See photos of various parts of the legislative chamber of the Assembly below:

17 Edo Lawmakers Claim To Have Impeached Assembly Speaker

17 APC Lawmakers in Edo claimed to have impeached the State House of Assembly Speaker on August 6, 2020.

 

Seventeen lawmakers of the Edo State House of Assembly, including 14 members whose seats have been previously declared vacant, claim that they have impeached the Speaker of the House, Francis Okiye, and his deputy, Roland Asoro.

The decision was taken on Thursday at a private location in Benin City, the state capital, hours after security officials took over the State Assembly Complex.

In their place, the lawmakers say they have elected Victor Edoror, who represents Esan Central Constituency, and Emmanuel Agbaje, who represents Akoko-Edo Constituency II as Speaker and Deputy Speaker, respectively.

At the meeting, the 14 lawmakers-elect were, first, sworn in and then, together with three other lawmakers who recently pledged their allegiance to Osagie Ize-Iyamu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) claimed to have impeached the Speaker and his deputy.

READ ALSO: Drama As Men Smash Mace, Destroy Property At Edo Assembly

Mr Victor Edoror speaks shortly after he was sworn in as the new Speaker of the Edo State House of Assembly on August 6, 2020.

 

The Edo State House of Assembly has been embroiled in a crisis since 2019, one that has now been worsened by the buildup to the governorship elections in the state.

Twenty-four lawmakers were elected from the 24 constituencies during the 2019 general elections.

However, only 10 of them were inaugurated on July 17 of the same year, sparking a controversy that included intervention from the National Assembly.

Five of the 10 lawmakers that were inaugurated including the then Deputy Speaker, Yekini Idiaye, had declared support for Ize-Iyamu last week, after accusing Governor Godwin Obaseki of rendering the legislature in the state useless.

In retaliation, four of the five inaugurated lawmakers met on Wednesday and impeached Idiaye, replacing him with Asoro.

 

But the lawmakers loyal to Ize-Iyamu claimed to have impeached him and the Speaker, Okiye.

Although a total of 19 lawmakers have pledged their loyalty to the APC, only 17 were present at the meeting and signed the impeachment notice.

The lawmakers, before the end of the plenary, also issued a notice to the Inspector General of Police and the Commissioner of Police in Edo that they would be taking over the Assembly on Friday having taken over its leadership.

Drama As Men Smash Mace, Destroy Property At Edo Assembly

 

A combination of photos from the scenes of the incidents at the Edo State House of Assembly complex in Benin City on August 6, 2020.

 

Drama played out on Thursday at the Edo State House of Assembly when dozens of heavily armed security operatives stormed the complex, leading to the eventual renovation of the complex.

As early as 8 am, police officers comprising operatives attached to the Police Mobile Force and Operation Thunderstorm occupied the complex in Benin City, the state capital.

They were later joined by personnel of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), preventing entry into the Assembly premises.

A senior police officer and others at the Edo State House of Assembly complex in Benin City on August 6, 2020.

 

Channels Television gathered that the move was purportedly to forestall an alleged plan to attack the facility by some unnamed persons.

A Desperate Opposition?

A short while after the police took over the complex, some supporters of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Edo thronged the scene, chanting solidarity songs in support of the current leadership of the Assembly.

 

Amid the chanting by the supporters, Governor Godwin Obaseki, who is seeking re-election on the PDP platform, also arrived at the complex alongside the Speaker of the House, Frank Okiye, and went straight into the Assembly premises without resistance from the security operatives.

In his reaction, the governor condemned what he described as the desperation of his major opponent and his supporters for allegedly planning to take over the assembly complex and occupy it in order to disrupt the democratic process and rule of law.

He, however, affirmed his determination to ensure that the rule of law and one-man-one-vote was accomplished in the state.

Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, with his deputy, Philip Shaibu, and the State House of Assembly Speaker, Frank Okiye, and others at the Assembly complex in Benin City on August 6, 2020.

 

Okiye, on his part, alleged that the police action was instigated from Abuja while the governor vowed to ensure the lawmakers and the people of the state were protected.

 

Invasion Turned Renovation

After addressing the supporters, Governor Obaseki left the scene while the police once again ordered the party supporters outside the complex, where they continued their solidarity dance.

Thereafter, tipper trucks drove to the complex where they off-loaded sand and gravel in front of the Assembly in what the government explained was part of ongoing reconstruction work at the complex.

Some unknown persons climbed the roof of the complex where they removed the mace.

Others believed to be construction workers were also seen removing the rooftop of the building in what appeared to be part of the renovation exercise.

When asked why taking such action, they said they were working on instructions from the appropriate authorities.

 

A Prototype Unveiled

Despite the unsettling events at the complex, the Deputy Governor, Philip Shaibu, and Okiye inspected the ongoing work at the site where they unveiled a prototype for the rebuilding of the assembly.

The blockade of the Assembly complex as well as the removal of its rooftop, which seemed to be a new twist in the political sphere in Edo, have led to a war of words between the PDP and the All Progressives Congress.

Construction workers remove the rooftop of the Edo State House of Assembly complex in Benin City on August 6, 2020.

 

In its reaction, the PDP described the taking over of the complex as illegal and a recipe for violence in the state.

The party’s National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, told journalists at a news conference in Abuja that the police were working for the interest of the APC and not for the people of Edo State.

He also called on the Inspector-General of Police to pull out the security operatives from the complex, saying it could spark violence ahead of the governorship election.

Similarly, the Special Adviser to Obaseki on Media and Communication Strategy, Crusoe Osagie, alleged that the move was part of the APC’s plot to distract the governor’s campaign train.

 

 

A Parallel Assembly

According to him, the APC is panic-stricken by the huge crowd of supporters in the campaign train of Governor Obaseki and has resorted to the “devilish plot to illegally hijack the legislature, inaugurate a parallel assembly and possibly impeach the governor”.

These allegations were, however, countered by the chairman of the State APC Media Campaign Council for the governorship election, John Mayaki.

He dismissed the claims by the Edo State government that the APC and its former National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, ferried police from Abuja to block the Edo Assembly complex, saying the party does not control the police.

A file photo of former APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole.

 

On the other hand, Mayaki alleged that Governor Obaseki was responsible for numerous other sieges on the assembly complex.

He stressed that the state government and the PDP were in the best position to tell the world who sponsored the police blockade on the Assembly.

Mayaki also asked the governor to explain why a branch of government meant to carry out oversight functions and check the excesses of the executive arm has been holding plenary allegedly inside the Government House for months.

Thursday’s drama comes six weeks ahead of the governorship election in Edo State. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had fixed September 16 to conduct the poll.

Police Take Over Edo Assembly Complex

Police operatives at the Edo State House of Assembly in Benin City, the state capital on August 6, 2020.

 

Police have taken over the Edo State House of Assembly complex in Benin City, the state capital.

Dozens of the security officials stormed the complex on Thursday morning while patrol vehicles were stationed there.

Channels Television gathered that the police took the action following a reported threat of an attack on the facility.

The police officers were led to the Assembly by a Deputy Commissioner of Police (Operations), Ayoola Ajala.

Those at the Assembly include operatives attached to the Police Mobile Force and Operation Thunderstorm.

READ ALSO: Edo Assembly Deputy Speaker Impeached

 

Shortly after the police were deployed at the facility, personnel of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) also arrived at the complex.

Barely a day before the security operatives took over the facility, members of the Assembly impeached the Deputy Speaker of the House, Yekini Idiaye.

Idiaye was impeached during plenary on Wednesday and replaced with Roland Asoro, the lawmaker representing Orhionmwon II Constituency.

His impeachment came a few days after Idiaye and four other lawmakers declared their support for the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Osagie Ize-Iyamu.

 

The five lawmakers were among the 10 members of the House inaugurated in July 2019 while 14 others have yet to be inaugurated.

They insisted that their decision was to remain in the APC on whose platform they were elected.

See more photos from the Assembly below:

Edo Assembly Blockade: We Don’t Control The Police, Says APC

This photo taken on August 6, 2020, shows security operatives at the Edo State House of Assembly complex in Benin City, the state capital.

 

The takeover of the Edo State House of Assembly complex by security operatives has sparked an exchange of blame between the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC).

While the PDP blamed the opposition party in the state for the incident, the APC denied the allegation that it brought police personnel from Abuja to block the Assembly complex.

In a statement on Thursday, Chairman of the APC Media Campaign Council in Edo, John Mayaki, explained that as a political party, the APC does not control the police.

He, however, accused the Edo State government of carrying out several onslaughts against the constitutional independence of the legislative arm of government by attacking its members-elect and denying them representation.

Mayaki alleged that the governor was responsible for a number of sieges on the Assembly complex, adding that he was in the best position to explain who sponsored the blockade of the Assembly.

 

“It is a known fact that the outgoing governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki, has treated the House of Assembly, an independent and co-equal branch of government, as a mere extension of his office through the brutalisation of members-elect and the denial of representation to the majority of members,” he claimed.

The campaign council spokesman added, “In Gestapo style, the outgoing governor hijacked a tiny minority and purportedly inaugurated them in the dead of the night.

“The sham inauguration was condemned and set aside by both arms of the National Assembly after their separate investigations revealed that the members, and indeed the Clerk, were forced to participate in the illegality under threat to life.”

Earlier, Channels Television reported that security operatives from the Nigeria Police and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) laid a siege on the Assembly following a reported threat of an attack on the facility.

Responding to the allegations that the former National Chairman of the APC sponsored the blockade, Mayaki distanced Adams Oshiomhole and his party from the incident.

A file photo of former APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole.

 

He stressed that if Oshiomhole had the power to control the police, he would not be locked out of the APC’s national secretariat in Abuja after a court suspended him.

Instead, the campaign council spokesman called on the state government to explain what was going on to the people of Edo.

He alleged that a branch of government meant to carry out oversight functions and check the excesses of the executive arm had been holding plenary inside the Government House for months over a supposed fumigation and renovation exercise at the Assembly complex.

“If indeed he (Oshiomhole) has any control over the police, wouldn’t he have instructed them to leave and grant him entry (into the APC national secretariat)?” Mayaki questioned.

Stop Illegal Invasion Of Edo Assembly, PDP Tells IGP

This photo taken on August 6, 2020, shows the entrance gate of the Edo State House of Assembly in Benin City, the state capital.

 

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has called on the Inspector-General of Police, Adamu Mohammed, to immediately stop the invasion of the Edo State House of Assembly.

In a statement on Thursday, the party described the incident as an attempt to forcefully take over the Assembly by security operatives allegedly deployed from Abuja by the All Progressives Congress (APC).

The PDP also blamed the incident on the former National Chairman of the APC, saying it was a direct coup against the democratic order of Edo State and a recipe for anarchy, chaos, and bloodletting.

“We urge the Inspector General to act with dispatch to curb this nefarious situation, which has heightened tension in the state, and if not halted, may result in a bloody clash as the citizens are already charged to defend their symbol of democracy from a forceful takeover,” the party said in the statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan.

READ ALSO: Police Take Over Edo Assembly Complex

 

Police operatives at the Edo State House of Assembly in Benin City, the state capital on August 6, 2020.

 

It added, “The police hierarchy is urged to note that this provocative and lawless act by the APC is part of its plans to overheat the polity and create a security situation with the view to unleash violence on the people, derail the democratic order in the state, and blame it on security agencies.

“We condemn this notorious resort to self-help by the APC and their agents to forcefully takeover power in Edo State through the back door.”

 

We Have No Control

The PDP said it has uncovered an alleged plot to use “the illegal security operation” to seize the processes of the State House of Assembly.

It claimed that the incident was also aimed at illegally inaugurating some persons whose seats have been declared vacant with purported plans to use them to pull down the democratic structure in the state.

The party also accused some leaders of the APC and lawmakers in the state of plots to “import a fake mace, cause anarchy and then push for the imposition of a state of emergency in the state.”

He claimed that the politicians were taking such actions because of the fear of being defeated in the forthcoming governorship election in Edo State.

 

“Our party, therefore, charges the IG to wade in and immediately withdraw the illegally deployed security officers and protect democracy and peace in Edo State.

“Our nation cannot afford to have a breakdown of law and order in Edo State at this critical time as such is capable of having a spiral effect on other states in the Niger Delta region, which will further result in dire consequences to our nation,” the PDP warned.

It also called on President Muhammadu Buhari to caution the former APC national chairman to avoid what it described as a serious crisis in the country.

In its reaction, the APC condemned the allegations of the PDP, saying it has no control over the police.

“Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, or the APC, does not control the Police,” a statement by the party’s media campaign council for the governorship election in Edo said

The PDP’s statement was in reaction to the take over of the Assembly complex in Benin City, the state capital by security operatives.

Channels Television had reported how dozens of personnel of the Nigeria Police and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) stormed the Assembly following a reported threat of an attack on the facility.

Edo Assembly Deputy Speaker Impeached

Edo Sate House of Assembly Complex

 

The Deputy Speaker of the Edo State House of Assembly, Hon. Yekini Idiaye has been impeached.

Idiaye was impeached during plenary on Wednesday which was held at the Assembly complex in Benin City.

Hon. Roland Asoro, who is a member representing Orhionmwon II Constituency in the Edo State House of Assembly (EDHA) has been elected as the new Deputy Speaker.

His election follows the impeachment of Hon. Yekini Idiaye.

Edo Assembly Declares 14 Seats Vacant

 

The Edo State House of Assembly has declared 14 seats vacant; the 12 members-elect who have refused to present themselves for inauguration into the 7th Assembly and two others who didn’t meet the mandatory sitting requirements to continue as members.

According to the Deputy Speaker of the House, Yekini Idiaye, representing Akoko Edo State Constituency I, the resolution was reached at plenary on Wednesday, December 4.

He noted that the seats declared vacant are Etsako West I, Etsako West II, Owan East, Owan West, Etsako Central, Etsako East, and Esan Central.

Others are Uhunmwonde, Oredo East, Oredo West, Egor, Ovia North East I, Ovia North East II and Ovia southwest I.

READ ALSO: Senate Swears In Smart Adeyemi, Replaces Dino Melaye

He said two of those affected from Oredo East and Owan East, were sworn-in but failed to meet the mandatory 181-day sitting requirement for a member in a calendar year.

For others, who hadn’t been inaugurated since the proclamation of the House, he said, “Their constituents have been complaining and have come to us that they want their voices and concerns to be heard at the House. So, people who are willing to provide quality representation have to be elected to bring the matters of the distraught constituents to the floor for debate and legislation, where necessary.”

He noted that the House also passed the 2020 Appropriation Bill and affirmed the removal of the suspended Chairman of Etsako East Local Government Area, Alhaji Aramiyau Momoh, after receiving the report of the investigation committee on the appropriation of funds and undermining the financial rules and regulations of public service.

Other matters considered at the sitting, according to him, were the confirmation of the members of the board of the Edo State Internal Revenue Service (EIRS).

Edo Assembly Crisis: 14 Members Seek Buhari’s Intervention

Some members-elect of the Edo State House of Assembly at a press conference in Abuja on October 18, 2019.

 

 

Fourteen members-elect of the Edo State House of Assembly have demanded presidential intervention into the crisis rocking the Assembly.

The members, who are yet to be sworn in, have called on President Muhammadu Buhari to fulfil his promise of resolving the legislative impasse in the state.

A member of the Assembly representing Uhunmwode State Constituency, Mr Washington Osifo, made stated this on behalf of the group at a news conference in Abuja on Monday.

The lawmaker-elect stressed that it was time for the President to wade into the matter as the affected members accused the state governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki, of crossing what they termed ‘the red line’.

He also claimed that the governor was a threat to democracy, while the urgent need for President Buhari to intervene would avert a breakdown of law and order in the state.

READ ALSO: Again, Supreme Court Strikes Out HDP’s Appeal Against Buhari’s Election

Osifo faulted the inauguration of 10 out of the 24 members of the House by the governor.

He accused Governor Obaseki of working against the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the symbol of democracy represented by the legislature, adding that he must not be allowed to continue without being sanctioned.

The lawmaker-elect, therefore, called on well-meaning individuals and groups among others to prevail on the governor to issue a proclamation letter that would usher in the seventh State Assembly.

He said, “The people of the world, the authorities of this country, and those who have sworn to defend the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria should see the need to speak to the conscience of the governor of Edo State, Mr Godwin Obaseki, to immediately release a proclamation letter which will kick start, of course, the inauguration of the seventh Assembly.”