BY ISAAC OLAMIKAN
Gabriel Oloruntobi, chairman of the Edo State chapter of the Action Democratic Party, ADP, has stated that the foundation of the ongoing crisis in the state House of Assembly was laid during the first tenure of the then governor of the state, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, who gave his backing to eight of the members to relocate to the government house to conduct their sittings.
“The foundation for this kind of situation was laid during the first tenure of the then governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, who ensured that his choice of speaker emerged to lead the house of assembly.
“He gave the few members of the house who were his loyalists all the backing they needed to the extent of relocating them to the government house where they now conducted their sittings,” he recalled.
Oloruntobi, who was the Special Adviser on Legislative Matters to then Governor Oserheimen Osunbor, recalled that during the period the number of the opposition members in the house was eight while the ruling People’s Democratic Party, PDP, had 16 members.
“We never had such a crisis in the house then because we didn’t stop the members of the opposition from carrying out their duties nor deny them their entitlements. Things went on smoothly.
“The present speaker of the house, Rt. Hon. Frank Okiye, was then the Majority Leader of the house. He conducted his legislative duties diligently, intelligently and without rancour which I am certain he will adhere to in his new position.
“So, it is such a sad thing that the house is experiencing this high level of rancour when all the members are of the same political party.
“For the sake of the people of the state who yearn for good governance the warring politicians should iron out whatever is their differences and let Governor Godwin Obaseki work because from all indications he is ready to work.
Interpreting the implication of the initial inauguration of nine members of the state House of Assembly, Oloruntobi said: “Ideally, all the 24 elected lawmakers should have presented themselves for their inauguration and election of principal officers amongst them.
“However, for one reason or the other they could not all participate in the process at the same time. The nine of them that were sworn in were the only members of the house at that moment and they went on to elect a speaker.
“The other 15 members who were not present at that moment were still members elect. So talking of forming a quorum is situated on the nine inaugurated members who all participated in the election of the speaker.”
On allegation of abduction made by some of the members, Oloruntobi asserted: “Was the process of oath taking at gunpoint? And if they say they were abducted how much was the ransome paid before they were released?
“To me, this allegation is neither here nor there. And to think that one of those making the allegation is a lawyer. He should know the implication of his allegation.”