The Edo State House of Assembly Speaker, Frank Okiye, has said police officers stationed at the assembly complex has not denied any pro-Obaseki lawmaker access to the building.
By Samson Adenekan
Mr Okiye, who spoke to PREMIUM TIMES on Thursday, said he had been at the complex and was not denied entrance.
“I can now confirm that as a matter of rumour, because when I drove into the said assembly with my Honourable members, seven of us, we inspected the work that has been done. Unfortunately, the contractor could not come to the site because of the same rumour,” Mr Okiye said in a phone interview.
News was rife earlier on Thursday that certain members of the Nigerian Police Force had shown up at the premises to ‘take over the assembly’ in favour of a certain sect.
The Edo State governor’s spokesperson, Crusoe Osagie, in a statement sent to this newspaper, linked the change in the assembly’s police team to a plot to take over the venue and “illegally inaugurate 14 dissident members-elect” believed to be loyal to Mr Oshiomhole on Thursday.
“It was learnt that Comrade Oshiomhole has started mobilising thugs to move to the complex so as to provide cover for the impending planned action to import a fake mace for the members-elect to work in cahoot with the impeached Deputy Speaker of the Assembly, Hon. Yekini Idiaye to actualise this plot,” Mr Osagie said in a separate statement sent to earlier on Thursday.
Meanwhile, the addition of the four lawmakers who declared their supports for the APC 2020 governor candidate, Osagie Ize-Iyamu, on Monday, pegged the total number of the Edo State lawmakers against Godwin Obaseki’s re-election bid at 17 while the remaining seven, continue to hold the gate for him.
Speaking on this new development to this reporter, Mr Okiye, one of the seven pro-Obaseki lawmakers dismissed Mr Osagie’s statement as rumour when he described his encounter with the said police team.
“Yes, there are policemen around, but I have no way of knowing whether they are from in or outside the state, but I saw the DC of Benin and we exchange pleasantries.
“I can say that there is no take over of the State House of Assembly, as I speak with you, I am at the premises and there is nobody waylaying anybody. I have called the contractors to come and do their job,” he told this newspaper and denied the possibility of any inauguration holding at the complex today.
He also expressed his suspicion that the immediate past national chairman and some governors from the APC are queuing behind the impeached Edo State Deputy Speaker, Yekini Idiaye, to commit an illegal act which he did not explicitly define.
Mr Idiaye was controversially impeached on Wednesday by the seven pro-Obaseki lawmakers, led by the speaker, two days after endorsing the candidacy of Mr Ize-Iyamu
Speaking on the impeachment of the former deputy speaker, Mr Okiye said the latter’s impeachment does not deter him from attending plenary or exercising his right as one of the state lawmakers.
“He (Idiaye) was removed because the seven members consented to it,” he defended.
PREMIUM TIMES contacted the Edo State police spokesperson, Chidi Nwabuzor, for comments on the alleged switch in the assembly police team but responded that “I have not been briefed.”
He, however, argued that the police are there to do their job which is “maintain law and order.”
At least three lawmakers from pro-Oshiomhole camp were also contacted by this reporter but they all refused to comment on this development.
Some of the contacted pro-Oshiomhole lawmakers include Washington Osifo, Vincent Uwaidia and Christopher Okaeben. The three are lawmaker-elect, yet to be inaugurated.