By Eric Elezuo
All is not very well with both the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and their rivals, the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Edo State as the September 19, 2020 governorship election draws dangerously close. The intrigues associated with the build up to the election has signified that whoever emerges winner after the elections would be the one who plays a dirtier card.
While many were believing that both parties were finally settling down to meaningful politicking, a new twist was introduced when 14 hitherto non-inaugurated members of the state house of assembly in league with three others, impeached the sitting speaker, elected another and thrived under the protection of the Commissioner of Police in the state
The new drama, which played out in the Edo State House of Assembly on the day reported impeachment of the speaker, Frank Okiye, by the 17 lawmakers.
Earlier, Crusoe Osagie, the spokesperson of Governor Godwin Obaseki, had announced that some police officers brought into the state from Abuja had taken over the assembly complex which is under renovation. He suggested that the police officers were there to do the bidding of ex-governor Adams Oshiomhole who enjoys the support of the 17 members in his bid to ensure Mr Obaseki is not re-elected.
However, Mr Okiye, who now enjoys the support of only six other members of the 24-member assembly, said he and the other lawmakers had unrestricted access to the assembly complex.
But the twist of fate that has suddenly engulfed the battle for the soul of Edo State seems not to concern or hinge on ability to provide good governance any more, but has a lot to do with ego. The PDP, which against all odds suddenly found themselves bearing the tag of the ruling party in the state, on one hand, against the APC, which in the same vein, suddenly lost the garb of ruling party, on the other hand. Secondly, it is a game of another level of supremacy and ego between the incumbent governor, Obaseki and his former godfather, and disgraced for party national chairman, Adams Oshiomhole. Both men are lurked in a battle to outwit each other.
As it stands today, there are two factions of state assembly leadership led by Frank Okiye, loyal to Obaseki, and Editor, who is loyal to Oshiomhole.
The renewal of hostilities in the assembly started after the deputy speaker, Yekini Idiaye, openly declared support for Ize-Iyamu, who is sponsored by Oshiomhole. He was promptly impeached. In retaliation, the Oshiomhole camp hastily gathered fourteen of those lawmakers who were not inaugurated as lawmakers and whose seats were controversially declared vacant by the minority 10 lawmakers led by Mr Okiye.
However, three of Mr Okiye’s nine supporters, including the deputy speaker of the assembly, Yekini Idiaye, later joined the 14 lawmakers to make a total 17 against Mr Obaseki’s re-election plan.
Okiye is still talking tough though, accusing Oshiomhole and some governors of the party of queuing behind Idiaye “to commit an illegal act,” stressing that he is still in charge.
The sad part of the brouhaha in Edo is that most governors have abandoned their constitutional duties to join in the war in the state. The Edo government has accused Imo State governor, Hope Uzodinma of masterminding most of the troubles that have been erupting in the state, and Kano governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, of hitting up the policy with his utterances.
Again, the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN), has also been fingered as being the brain behind the police invasion of the assembly complex, which provided cover for the Oshiomhole lawmakers to hold parallel plenary, leading to the Impeachment of Odiye. Reports had it the minister directed the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, to provide security for the inauguration of the 14 members-elect and three other members of the Edo State House of Assembly on Thursday.
In a period of crisis, senior officers of government are looked upon to provide an atmosphere of peaceful co-existence, but what we have here is a bunch of top functionaries running mischievous errands like motor park urchins, and as usual, President Muhammadu Buhari is silent, and may in the days ahead, come and express his shock when things have gone haywire.
The officers are busy crafting a prelude to what September 19 may look like. We fear for the lives of the regular citizens.