EDO ASSEMBLY COMMUTES FORMER SPEAKER’S IMPEACHMENT

The Edo House of Assembly on Wednesday reversed the recent impeachment of the former Speaker, Francis Okiye, and commuted it to resignation.

The House also reversed the suspension slammed on Okiye, who later joined the lawmakers during the plenary session.

The PUNCH had earlier reported that the lawmakers impeached Okiye on Monday over allegations of high-handedness.

The House had immediately elected Marcus Onobun, representing Esan West State Constituency, as the new Speaker.

But at a sitting on Wednesday, the lawmakers reversed Okiye’s impeachment following a motion moved by the Majority Leader of the House, Henry Okhuarobo, and seconded by Emmanuel Okoduwa, representing Esan North East 11.

Moving the motion, Okhuarobo said the need to reverse the speaker’s impeachment followed appeals from their constituents.

Consequently, the motion, which received the overwhelming support of the members, was adopted by the House.

The newly-elected Speaker, Onobun, told newsmen shortly after the plenary session that there was no rift between the House and the Governor Godwin Obaseki administration.

Also, Okiye said he was pleased that the house reversed its decision on him while he expressed readiness to work with the present leadership for the good of his constituency.

The crisis rocking the Assembly began when it was inaugurated under controversial circumstances at night with only nine, out of 24 lawmakers-elect, on June 17, 2019, following an alleged proclamation by Governor Godwin Obaseki.

The 14 lawmakers, who were not part of the process, as well as the All Progressives Congress, rejected the process and called on the governor to issue a fresh proclamation.

However, a Federal High Court in Rivers State barred the governor from doing so. A separate court also barred the National Assembly from taking over the Edo Assembly.

This worsened the crisis within the APC in the state and deepened the feud between Obaseki and his predecessor, Adams Oshiomhole, who was also the National Chairman of the APC.

An attempt by the aggrieved lawmakers to be inaugurated was, however, scuttled by men claiming to be renovating the Assembly complex.

However, the APC claimed the men were thugs hired by the governor who was afraid of being impeached.

Obaseki, who later dumped the APC for the Peoples Democratic Party, said shortly after he won the September 19 poll that he lacked the power to bring back the 14 lawmakers yet to be inaugurated.

Obaseki had explained that the 14 lawmakers “refused to be inaugurated”.

“They were listening to their godfather who kept hoping and promising that he would unconstitutionally get the state House of Assembly to reissue a proclamation even after the court had settled the matter.

“For more than 180 days they did not come. They refused to represent the people. Those seats became vacant; that’s what the constitution says.

“They went to court after the seats were declared vacant by the Speaker. There is nothing I can do to that at this time,” the governor had stated.

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