Barrister Anselm Ojezua, chairman of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Edo State, in this interview with ISAAC OLAMIKAN bared his mind on the crisis rocking the state house of assembly.
The Edo State House of Assembly, EDHA, is presently split into Pro-Oshiomhole and Pro-Obaseki factions. What do you think can be done to unite the factions?
I don’t see Pro-Oshiomhole or Pro-Obaseki groups. I just see Edo House of Assembly. Two groups – one trying to outwit the other or clearly one has outwitted the other. They are sitting. They are functioning. So, I will ask my members, those members-elect who have not been sworn-in to present themselves for swearing in and avoid a problem within the party because the thing is dragging on now and there are implications to themselves and to their constituencies.
The house is alive in the eyes of the law. Some people believe that the time start running from the day of proclamation. But a very astute lawyer in one of the programmes on Channels TV has drawn attention to the aspect of the Constitution that says once the last tenure of the house expires the life of the next house begins.
If that is the case then time starts running from the 7th or 8th of June, 2019. Either way time is running. There is a time limit. Limit within which a member of the house must sit. In the event that they don’t there is an obligation to declare those seats vacant in which case INEC will have to conduct fresh elections in those constituencies. I sincerely hope that we don’t get to that point. So, I will ask my members to present themselves to present themselves for inauguration and end this charade. This is not the first time we are having members having problems among themselves. We have had cases of people elected as speaker and months later they are changed.
So, what’s the big deal about this? That’s not I cannot understand, that it has become a national issue to a point even the national assembly, NASS, is needlessly dragged into it. What is the problem? Speaker of Edo State House of Assembly? What’s the special interest? So, my appeal is that these boys should present themselves and end this charade.
There are ominous signs ahead for them and their constituencies. Not for everybody else. With this kind of behaviour now I am not even sure whether if the situation arise and we have to do fresh nomination what is the guarantee that we are going to consider them. People who have no respect for leaders. They should go and present themselves.
Some people are accusing the National Assembly that is intervening in the issue as meddlesome interlopers. What do you have to say about this?
I am not going to make any comment about the national assembly intervention. I think I have done that in the past. I believe that it is sufficient for me to say that all matters relating to this episode are in court. I am aware that certain pronouncements have been made by the courts by way of interlocutory orders. All those who have superior arguments can now go and tender them and make their submissions in court. Let us all submit ourselves to the rule of law as enshrined in the Constitution of the federal republic. So, the matters are in court. As they say, it is sub judice. I cannot comment on that.
There are talks that some members of your party have started hobnobbing with the opposition. Don’t you think that this can spell doom for your party?
It is not true. I can tell you. Whatever is happening in the Edo State House of Assembly has nothing to do to the health of the party(APC). The party is intact. It is very healthy. We are waxing stronger. Should there be any interaction with opposition party members or any other person it has to be in the course of mobilisation for fresh membership for the party.
Don’t forget that this is still the party to beat in Edo State but for this ugly episode. We have not had it better. The party is fully mobilised. Government is working according to the promises we have made to the Edo people and to a very large extent the people are happy with the government. That’s the joy of any responsible political party. That the government they have presented is performing to the satisfaction of the citizens.
That’s what is important. And the opposition is getting weaker but for this charade that’s taking place. There are some members of the party, I don’t want to use the word disgruntled, let me say that they are unhappy that for once they are not on the driver’s seat and therefore the vehicle must have accident. And I say no. When they had their opportunities in their various appointments or opportunities in the past other people had to wait. So, if for once they are not in that same situation they shouldn’t bring the house down. These people thankfully don’t have the capacity to create any upset and I say this with all sense of responsibility.
More than 90 percent of them were not in our party when we assumed office and took control of government in this party.
They all joined us in the course of party mobilisation which is ongoing. If they leave us they can only leave us with their own value. It will not affect the essence of APC in Edo State which I have told you fundamentally we are still in charge.