From Tony Osauzo and Ighomuaye Lucky, Benin
Kabir Adjoto (APC) representing Akoko-Edo Constituency 1 yesterday emerged as the new Speaker of the Edo State House of Assembly.
His election followed the impeachment of the erstwhile speaker, Justin Okonoboh, after many plots by members of the Assembly to unseat him had failed.
Okonoboh was impeached along with his deputy, Elizabeth Ativie and the majority leader, Foly Ogedengbe.
Also elected yesterday were Victor Edoror, the former speaker representing Esan Central constituency, as the new Deputy Speaker and Roland Asoro, representing Orhionmwon 11, as the Majority Leader.
Speaking to journalists, the new Speaker, Adjoto said 16 members impeached the three principal officers after which the number of lawmakers in attendance rose to 19 members.
He said the impeached principal officers as well as Magnus Izehi-Igbas of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), representing Esan North-East constituency 11 had been suspended for three months.
He alleged that the impeached speaker ran the house as a private entity in conjunction with his wife.
”The impeached Speaker converted the House to a private estate. We are supposed to be 24 members in the House, but he now co-opted his wife as the 25th member, who was now privileged to know all the operations before the members.
”He also awarded contracts to himself without recourse to the House standing rules and due process,” Adjoto further alleged. The new speaker added that members of the House were elected to be partners in the Edo State project with the governor of the state, whom he described as a performing governor.
Reacting to the impeachment, the impeached majority leader, Foly Ogedengbe, described the action as “null, void and unconstitutional.”
He claimed that only 11 members carried out the purported impeachment and alleged that the number violated the provision of two-third majority.
Ogedengbe said 16 members have the constitutional right to impeach the principal officers of the House and insisted that 11 did not meet up with the two-third majority.
Meanwhile, the impeachment of the three principal officers yesterday led to a marathon meeting between the State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, members of the Assembly and the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) at the party’s secretariat in Benin City.
The meeting, which was an apparent move to resolve the saga, was, however, deadlocked.
Addressing journalist at the end of the meeting, Edo State APC Chairman, Mr. Anselm Ojezua, said talks were still ongoing to resolve the matter.
“We are still talking. As soon as we finish talking, we will let you know the outcome,” he said.