Edo Governorship Election Tribunal Adjourns Till December 12

Edo Governorship Election Tribunal Adjourns Till December 12
Edo State Governor-elect, Godwin Obaseki

The Edo state 2016 governorship election tribunal sitting in Benin City, the state capital has again adjourned till December 12, to commence pre-trial.

The candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), in the governorship election, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu and his party, challenged the election of Governor Godwin Obaseki.

Mr Ize-Iyamu had rejected the results declared by the electoral umpire, as he alleged that voters were induced and that the state government collaborated with INEC to doctor the results in favour of the APC.

Meanwhile, the tribunal had ordered the petitioners to file their application and serve the respondents by December 3, while the respondents were also expected to respond by December 5.

Before adjourning the case however, the tribunal insisted that its earlier order regarding the inspection of materials used for the election must be obeyed.

Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC), had announced Godwin Obaseki as winner of the Edo state governorship election.

The APC supporters took to the major streets of Benin City, to celebrate their party’s victory, after what they described as free, fair and credible polls.

 

Edo Speaker Defends N300m Benefit For Ex-Governors, Deputies

Edo Speaker Defends N300m Housing Benefit For Governors And DeputiesThe Speaker of the Edo State House of Assembly, Justin Okonoboh, says the House is justified in approving the sum of 300 million naira as housing benefit for former governors and deputies.

The Speaker said this in reaction to allegations of waste of public funds against the House in various quarters, particularly social media.

He argued that the amount is not so outrageous in the face of current economic realities in the country, adding that the payment is one time only.

“Some talked about the amount and I think that was quite moderate because the law says any part of the country. If you want to use 200 million naira in Lagos, it probably might just be a grant to them because they need to add money to build a befitting house in Lagos or wherever,” he said.

Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has condemned the idea of approving 300 million naira retirement benefits for the immediate past governor, Adams Oshiomhole, and his deputy, Dr. Pius Odubu.

The rights group has called on Governor Godwin Obaseki to “immediately withdraw the bill, and use the funds to clear the backlog of pension arrears spanning between seven and 45 months.”

SERAP’s call followed reports of amendment of Law for Pension Rights of the Governor and Deputy Governor by the Edo State House of Assembly, with the immediate past governor and deputy governor expected to be some of the beneficiaries.

The new amendment contains provision of residential buildings worth N200m and N100m for the governor and his deputy at the expiration of their tenures. The bill also provides that the buildings could be sited in any location of their choice.

Former Speaker’s Suspension

The Edo Speaker also commented on the suspension of former Speaker of the House, Victor Edoror.

Following his impeachment on May 4, an ad-hoc committee headed by Emmanuel Agbaje was set up to investigate the former speaker over alleged misappropriation of fund.

Edoror was suspended over his failure to appear before the committee, and the current Speaker insisted that the action followed due process.

“I set up another committee to invite him so that we can hear from him to give us their report within three months as it is usual during that period he remains suspended, that’s what we’ve just done.

“We are in the same party. It is not a political thing, it’s not a personal thing, we are from the same senatorial district. I actually thought I was doing him a favour,” he explained.

SERAP Asks Obaseki To Withdraw N300m Mansions Bill For Oshiomhole, Deputy

SERAP Condemns Reported N300m Mansions Bill For Oshiomhole, DeputySocio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has condemned the idea of approving 300 million naira mansion retirement benefits for immediate past governor of Edo State, Adams Oshiomhole, and his former deputy, Dr. Pius Odubu.

The rights group has called on Governor Godwin Obaseki to “immediately withdraw the bill, and use the funds to clear the backlog of pension arrears spanning between seven and 45 months.”

SERAP’s call followed reports of amendment of Law for Pension Rights of the Governor and Deputy Governor by the Edo State House of Assembly, with the immediate past governor and deputy governor expected to be some of the beneficiaries.

The new amendment contains provision of residential buildings worth N200m and N100m for the governor and his deputy at the expiration of their tenures. The bill also provides that the buildings could be sited in any location of their choice.

But in a statement dated November 17, 2016, SERAP Executive Director, Adetokunbo Mumuni said: “Coming at a time the Edo State government can’t even pay its pensioners and salaries of workers, the amendment by the Edo State House of Assembly is immoral, unfair, unconstitutional, unreasonable, and a rip-off on a massive scale.

“Governor Obaseki must reject this grotesque bill if he’s to fulfil his election promises and lift millions of Edo State pensioners out of extreme poverty.

“This so-called proposed legislation means that millions of Edo pensioners and workers will have to fund the massive and unjust pensions for former governor, Oshiomhole and his deputy and others that will come after them.”

Edo-State-house-of-Assembly
Edo State House of Assembly

The statement furher read that “many of the retirees whose pensions have not been paid have been evicted from their apartments due to their inability to pay their rents””.

According to SERAP’s information, one of such retirees is Ihama Friday who at 60 is now squatting with friends. Another pensioner Osa-Aighobarueghia who retired as a head teacher “continues to live a life off debts because the Edo State government has refused to pay her 30 months’ pension benefits”.

“SERAP is aware that the Edo State government is not the only state passing such obnoxious pension laws to provide outrageous retirement benefits to former governors and deputy governors and that many of them are already in the National Assembly receiving multiple benefits and putting their personal bank accounts ahead of the common good.

“SERAP is finalising a comprehensive legal strategy to challenge these unjust laws and to name and shame those who continue to benefit from such laws.

“Nigerians should not be made to subsidise these bloated pensions and clearly undeserved perks. Governor Obaseki should not see disadvantaged Nigerians and poor pensioners according to Orwell’s Animal Farm dictum: ‘All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others’.

“Approving the amendment by the Edo State House of Assembly will amount to a fundamental breach of the Governor’s constitutional oath declaration to serve the interest of justice, common good, transparency and accountability,” the group said.

SERAP maintained that it is appalled by “this apparently unfair and discriminatory law”, as there is no justification for such law at a time the pensions systems across the country are in poor shape, and pensioners continue to be denied the fruit of their labour.

“Former governors and their deputies can’t lawfully give to themselves a steady stream of public funds for life at a time millions of pensioners including in Edo State face cut to their pension schemes and remain in poverty without any state support,” it concluded.

Obaseki Resumes Office, Swears In SSG

Obaseki Resumes Office, Swears In SSG
Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki

Edo state Governor, Godwin Obaseki, has sworn in Osarodion Ogie as the Secretary to the Edo State Government.

The State Governor who performed the swearing in ceremony on Monday morning at the Edo state government house also appointed Taiwo Akerele as the Chief of Staff and John Mayaki as the Chief Press Secretary.

The Governor said that he would work with those appointed and the Permanent Secretaries for the next six weeks before considering further appointments due to paucity of funds.

While addressing the new SSG, Governor Obaseki restated his commitment to cutting cost of governance but promised not to sack civil servants.

“Let us put in place the governance structure so that our political structure can survive.

“So for the next six weeks’ minimum, we are going to be working with the permanent secretaries to understand the governance structure, redefine the structures of government so that we can begin to make governance more efficient and reduce the cost of governance because we cannot afford to continue with the high cost currently run today”.

In his response, the new Secretary to the State Government, Osarodion Ogie, pledged his loyalty and commitment to the government.

“I do know the task ahead of us and I will do all in my power to make sure that your dreams for the state comes to fruition.”

It was the first day of the new governor of Edo state Mr Godwin Obaseki in office.

At the other wing of the government house, the Deputy Governor, Mr Philip Shuabu, also assumed office, promising to work with the Governor to fulfill their electoral promises to the people of Edo state.

“The vision of this government is making the youths employed, turning Edo state to an industrial state, making unemployment history in Edo state and creating wealth for our people and our state.

“So my task is to key into that vision and to assist the Governor to actualize it.”