Edo State chapter of the All Progressives Congress, APC has berated the state governor, Godwin Obaseki over his threat to sue the 14 embattled lawmakers-elect of the state House of Assembly for treason and sedition. In two separate reactions on Sunday, the state chairman of the party, David Imuse, a retired army colonel and medical doctor, and Chris Azebamwan, publicity secretary, said there was no basis for it, neither was this the time to grandstand. Their statements were however conciliatory on the travails of the affected lawmakers-elect.
Puncturing the governor’s claim that he was being “conditioned” to press treason and sedition charges against them, Imuse posited that “Fact is nobody is conditioning the governor”, noting that the candidate of the party in the contentious September 19, 2020 governorship election, Osagie Ize-Iyamu, in his congratulatory message following the final verdict by the Supreme Court, “appealed to Mr Obaseki to consider the case of the lawmakers-elect”.
According to him, “Pastor Ize-Iyamu did not impute any kind of conditions in his message to the Governor. It was to avoid this kind of conclusions that he not only sent a typed copy in his official letterhead to the Governor, which was duly acknowledged but also gave a copy to the discerning public.
“Pastor Ize-Iyamu wrote, ” … I want to appeal to you to kindly consider the pertinent issues of the 14 constituencies, including the two in your local government – Oredo and the two in your deputy’s local government – Etsako West, that are present without representation at the Edo State Assembly.
Though the matter is in court, you are in a vantage position to consider an out-of-court settlement of the issue, in the overall interest of our state”.
Imuse said “It is rather disheartening that a man trusted with the leadership position of a State governor like Mr Obaseki either does not understand the burden of the office or just delights in playing to the gallery for the fun of it.
These 14 APC members are people who were denied a lawful and normal inauguration because the Governor favoured a nocturnal event with only 9 of those he anointed present.
“This is a Governor with 2 of the seats in question from his local government, Oredo while 2 others are from his deputy, Mr Philip Shuaibu’s local government, Etsako West.
In effect, both the governor and his deputy have denied their own state constituencies and in fact local governments, constitutional representation at the Edo State Assembly for two years now.
“Truth be said, while the matter can actually and will ultimately be resolved by the Courts, it is in the overall interest of the 14 Edo constituencies and for posterity sake, that the ball is now in Mr Obaseki’s court. This is the issue and not treason and sedition, which has no basis”.
Taking a similar position, the publicity secretary of APC frowned at the governor’s contemptuous reaction to Ize-Iyamu and Adams Oshiomhole’s congratulatory letters and their appeal for out-of-court settlement of the state House of Assembly crisis as well as the cases of some elected council chairmen and councillors who were said to have been removed from office without due process.
Azebamwan said while the two issues were currently in courts, “it was hoped that an out-of-court settlement could be facilitated by the Governor”.
According to him, “But true to his character, however, Godwin Obaseki derisively referred to both Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu as “some characters” in reference to their congratulatory messages and went further to say that rather than facilitate an out-of-court settlement, he would use State apparatus to initiate charges of treason and sedition against the Members-elect, in his own words, “to teach them a lesson.
“It is a matter of public records that the nine-member Edo State House of Assembly was inaugurated in the dead of night; a proclamation was made but not published as required by law, some participants were coerced, legislative dress codes were not observed, and several other sundry anomalies and aberrations.
All of these notwithstanding, the All Progressives Congress, APC felt it was time to extend the olive branch, start the healing process, and begin the onerous task of meeting the yearnings and aspirations of Edo people by deescalating tension in the political space”.
Azebamwan further argued that “the 14 Members-elect have a constitutional mandate that was arbitrarily abrogated by under-handed State manipulations” stressing that “It is the constitutional right and legal responsibility to their constituents to seek by any and all lawful means, to claim their mandate”.
Reminding the governor that those who make peaceful change impossible make violent change inevitable, he stated that “But because we believe, and strongly too, that we are all critical stakeholders in the Edo State project, it was and still is, our hope, our desire and our prayer that we can achieve more with a handshake at a parley table, that can be achieved through confrontation”.
In a conciliatory tone, he said “It is time to sheath swords. It is time to come together as one people with a joint and common destiny. This is not the time for grandstanding, not the time for threats and intimidation, and certainly not the time for arm-twisting.
Democracy without representation has no meaning and there is no denying that the people of Edo State that are represented by the 14 Members-elect are being shortchanged”.
The publicity scribe insisted that “It is time to let the greater good for the greater number to be our overriding consideration. It is time to bring down the barriers and build bridges because if the house collapses, the loss is shared by all occupants of the house. Let us together, rebuild Edo State without bitterness and rancour”.