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12 anti-Obaseki lawmakers take oath of office as ‘plot to remove Edo gov thickens’



Twelve lawmakers-elect of the Edo state house of assembly have taken their oath of office.

This comes more than one year after they were elected.

After taking the oath of office, Victor Edoror, who was impeached as deputy speaker in 2018, was elected speaker.

Inauguration is usually done by the clerk of the assembly.

In June 2019 when a similar drama played out in Edo, only nine of the lawmakers were sworn in but this was done by Audu Omogbai, the clerk of the assembly, and it was within the legislative chamber.

In cases where the house is being inaugurated, the clerk usually carries out the mandate following a letter of proclamation from the governor.

The crisis between Godwin Obaseki, the governor, and Adams Oshiomhole, former national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), had split the assembly.

A faction loyal to the governor has been in charge of the assembly while the loyalists of Oshiomhole were left out despite all attempts to be inaugurated.

But as some of the lawmakers in the camp of Obaseki, led by Yekini Idiaye, the deputy speaker, endorsed Osagie Ize-Iyamu, APC candidate for the September 19 gubernatorial election, the pro-Oshiomhole lawmakers relaunched the move for  their inauguration.

A source told TheCable that they took their oath of office at a hidden location in Benin, the state capital, on Thursday.

The source said they have been mandated to remove Obaseki one month to the governorship election.

TheCable could not independently verify this claim.

Obaseki had defected from the APC to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) after he was screened out of the governorship race of the APC.

The fresh crisis at the state assembly broke out after the impeachment of Idiaye.

Hours after Idiaye’s removal, Frank Okiye, the speaker of the house of assembly, raised the alarm that there was a plot to forcefully take over the assembly.

On Thursday morning, security operatives stormed the assembly, leading to a protest.

Okiye had alleged that the leadership of the APC was behind the action of the security operatives.

He also accused the other faction of the assembly of planning to topple the government of Obaseki.

“The Edo State House of Assembly condemns any attempt to operate the House of Assembly Complex at Ring Road, currently undergoing renovation as the inaugurated members and the Rt. Hon. Speaker have relocated the House via a letter widely circulated to a new address at Dennis Osadebay Avenue,” he said in a statement.

“Any attempt to operate the House of Assembly Complex at Ring Road, amounts to an attempt to topple a constituted government which in turn amounts to an act of treason.

“Forceful entry into the premises amounts to trespass, being that the House members have suspended activities at the building; their action will amount to disturbance of public peace which is also an offense.”