By Oriaifoh Godknows
As the inauguration of the 7th Edo Assembly is only a matter of days away, all stake holders, Edolites and Nigerians at large, must be mindful of who should eventually emerge as the Speaker of the Assembly for very obvious reasons; as it is important for square pegs to be in square holes.
It is a fact that some persons are seeing Rt. Hon. Victor Edoror, Hon. Emmanuel Okoduwa and Hon. Frank Okiye as those that are qualified as any one of them may emerge as the Speaker of Edo 7th Assembly; but, all the stake holders and Edo people must do an ‘ex-ray’ of the merit of each of these personalities for the said position.
It is a fact that they all emerged as honourable members under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, during the hay days of the PDP in Edo state. However, before the expiration of his first tenure in the House, Edoror became a member of the All Progressives Congress, APC, while Emmanuel Okoduwa, and Frank Okiye remained in the Peoples Democratic Party all through their first and second tenures. This makes Edoror the oldest APC member amongst the three.
Throughout their tenures, Okoduwa’s highest position in Edo state House of Assembly, EDHA, was a Minority Leader, while Okiye’s highest position was a Majority Leader; but, Edoror was twice the Deputy Speaker, and was once a Speaker of EDHA. Therefore, in term of experience on the job, with respect to the said position of a Speaker of the House, the eminently qualified candidate/legislature amongst the three is crystal clear. Edoror stands out.
Again, in terms of the length of time spent as member of the APC, Edoror, again stand out as he is the oldest member of the party amongst the three.
Rt. Hon. Victor Edoror, a straight third timer as Member, Edo state House of Assembly, has been a member of the All Progressives Congress, APC, all through, but, Hon. Frank Okiye and Hon. Emmanuel Okoduwa were both members of the PDP in their earlier tenures, this is their first time in EDHA as APC members. Ordinarily, should any of them be given priority over Edoror who has all along been in APC? This is a big question that demands sincere answers.
It is common knowledge that Edoror was impeached twice. When he was the Speaker, and when he was the Deputy Speaker. However, members of the public are taking his impeachments from office in each of the cases, with a pinch of salt; because, after he was impeached as Speaker, the House set up a panel to investigate him, at the end of the day, he was not indicted of any offence. Again, his purported impeachment as Deputy Speaker didn’t meet the required conditions of two-third majority necessary for such to take place, and neither does the rule of the House permit the suspension, by the Speaker, of any Member from the House, let alone suspending the Deputy Speaker…hence the court case with respect to this, passed judgment in favour of Edoror, and restrained EDHA from carrying out any further action/s against Edoror.
It is important to know the real reasons behind these impeachments so as to curtail its reoccurrence in future; as Edoror, in my point of view, which so many people also hold, still remains the most qualified candidate for the job of the Speaker, Edo state House of Assembly.
It is on record that when he was the Majority Leader of EDHA Frank Okiye, in 2008, during an imbroglio that occurred in the House, used a battle axe to puncture Rt. Hon. Kabiru Adjoto’s head. Adjoto at that time was just a floor member of the House. This alone, speaks volume of the character and person of Okiye who is today, lobbying to lead the 7th Assembly. It is also important to note that, the case, Adjoto versus Okiye, is still in court today.
The Edo state Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki has consistently insisted on rewarding performance. If so, in the last EDHA elections, while Okiye won only two out of the five Wards in his constituency, Esan North East II, Edoror won 8, out of the 10 Wards in his constituency. Again, while Okiye won his close rival with about 500 votes, and Okoduwa won with 37votes, but, Edoror won with about 4000 votes. These are glaring evidence of who amongst the three legislators is on ‘ground’, and commands more followership politically. Therefore, shouldn’t the ‘Wake and see Governor’ use this record as a yardstick to reward performance, instead of backing Okiye, as insinuated by some? Obaseki should be on a safe side and not allow himself to be used by his unfriendly friends to deepen his rising unpopularity.
It is also very important to point out the fact that, in spite of all the anti party activities of some APC leaders against Edoror, before and during the EDHA elections (which is now a common knowledge) Edoror still won with a landslide victory.
From my foregoing analysis, it is crystal clear to all Edolites, who amongst Edoror, Okoduwa and Okiye should contest unopposed for the Speakership position of the upcoming 7th Assembly of EDHA.
From findings, it is clear that the new members of EDHA that are yet to be inaugurated, prefer Edoror to any other person that may be expressing interest in the position of the Speaker, but, the Deputy Governor of Edo state, Hon. Phillip Shuaibu, is said not to favour Edoror, because of his previous grouse with Edoror.
Phillip Shuaibu, prefers any other, who he can always arm twist to do his biddings, to become the Speaker of the 7th Assembly.
Apart from all the above, my serious concern as an Edolite, and passionate APC member, is for what happened in the 8th National Assembly, when Dr. Bukola Saraki, who was an undercover PDP member erroneously emerged as the Senate President in an APC government. Who knows, Okiye and Okoduwa may be playing out the same PDP script as played by Dr. Saraki. All stake holders should be wise and alert with respect to who becomes the Speaker of EDHA 7th Assembly.
We all have seen how greed, lack of unity amongst the members and selfish interests marred the smooth operations of the 6th Edo Assembly, turning EDHA to House of humour before the whole world, putting Edo people at the receiving end of the poor and improper representation and legislation of the 6th Edo Assembly. All stakeholders and Edo people should therefore put their heads together to work against a worse scenario; because, if the Speakership of EDHA should fall into wrong hands, a repetition of that scenario or worse situation sure awaits EDHA 7th Assembly.