IMO State Governor Hope Uzodinma, House of Assembly Speaker Francis Okiye, as well as six other lawmakers are engaging in war of words over alleged plan to violently and illegally take over the assembly.
Uzodinma is a member of the National Campaign Council of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the September 19 election.
Okiye and the six lawmakers in the 24-member assembly, yesterday at a news conference inside the Government House, Benin, said there was need to call Uzodinma and other APC leaders to order over the alleged plot.
The pro-Governor Godwin Obaseki lawmakers said: “The dubious plan by Uzodinma and stakeholders of the APC in Edo State to import a fake mace to take over the House of Assembly, working in cahoots with the Deputy Speaker, Yekini Idaiye, of Akoko Edo Constituency 1 (removed yesterday), who recently declared support for the governorship candidate of the APC, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, to congregate in a secret location to illegally and violently take over control of the assembly, has been brought to our notice.
“We urge President Muhammadu Buhari and the Presidency to urgently call to order this governor (Uzodinma) and others working with him to execute the illegal plan to desist and allow the laws of the state to guide them.
“The state’s polity is already heated by the high political tension from the electioneering. Their planned action is akin to lighting a match in an already tense political environment, which conflagration is capable of causing crisis in the state and of a scale beyond our imagination.
“We call on Edo people, whose mandate and interests the state’s legislature holds and protects, to rise against this planned attack and plot to subvert their will and subjugate them, using external forces.
“We urge lovers of democracy across the world, institutions that uphold democratic tenets and values and pro-democracy groups to denounce the planned illegality that seeks to distract a duly-constituted authority.
“We recognise the constitutional rights of the three members of the assembly to support the candidate of their choice, but that should not distract them from coming to work to carry out the job they were elected for.”
The seven lawmakers loyal to the Edo governor said they were committed to the protection of the democratic rights of the people, stressing that the legislature remained a sacred institution in the democratisation process.
Uzodinma, reacting through Imo Commissioner for Special Projects Simon Ebegbulem, said: “The illegal Speaker (of Edo House of Assembly) and Governor Obaseki are not making sense to me with the baseless allegation. I don’t even know what they are talking about, because there is no House of Assembly in Edo State.
“This is why the so-called Speaker (Okiye) is running away from his shadow like a criminal that will always run, once he sees a law enforcement agent.
“I don’t know why he (Speaker) should draw the leg of Governor Uzodinma into his political problems. Governor Uzodinma is interested in working with other APC governors and stakeholders to reclaim Edo State, which has been an APC state, before Obaseki donated it to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).”
The Imo governor said the “illegal” Edo speaker and his principal (Obaseki) were already jittery, in view of their imminent defeat in the September 19 election.
Uzodinma said: “You can see that his (Obaseki’s) aides are resigning everyday, including the deputy speaker. Now he is left with five lawmakers. Does that show he is in charge?”