Tony Osauzo, Benin
The Edo State House of Assembly inauguration crisis has continued with the Oredo Local Government chapter of the All Progressives Congress suspending the member-elect for Oredo West constituency, Hon Chris Okaeben.
The suspension of Okaeben was announced on Friday at an enlarged meeting after adopting a recommendation of a 5-man panel set up in July 1, to investigate Okaeben’s misconduct.
Okaeben, one of the 12 members-elect insisting that the inauguration of the 7th Edo Assembly was illegal, was last week issued a 48-hour ultimatum to apologise to Governor Godwin Obaseki for his alleged misconduct but he replied that he did nothing wrong.
He was suspended for violating provisions of Article 21 of the APC constitution which stipulates disciplinary actions for erring members.
Chairman of APC in Oredo LGA, Mr. Godwin Alabi, who read the report of the panel to members of the party, said Okaeben failed to honour several invitations extended to him to ascertain his grievances against the party.
Alabi thanked the committee members for their objectivity, saying the party had complied with the recommendation of the panel which includes the suspension of Chris Okaeben.
“Following his utterances, the APC in the council area asked him to apologise but he refused to comply with the party’s directive; rather he threatened the life of the chairman of the party in the council area,” Godwin Alabi.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of Oredo Local Government Area, Hon. Jenkins Osunde, has said the decision taken on Okaeben was final, adding that the party’s attention should now be focused on supporting Governor Godwin Obaseki to deliver the dividends of democracy to Edo people.
A leader of the party in Oredo Ward 7, Mr. Tony Alile, who moved the suspension motion, said Okaeben violated the party’s rules and was subsequently suspended for his action.
“If he retraces his steps and apologises, the party will treat his apology and take a decision,” just as Martins Osakue of Oredo Ward 2, said the suspension was in order, that there was need to put members in check from time to time, assuring that Okaeben could be forgiven if he apologises.
But reacting to his suspension, Okaeben said he was not bothered because those that suspended him lacked the powers to do so.
He described the action as irresponsibility, adding “who are those suspending me? What powers do they have to suspend me?
“Why did it take them a long time to suspend me after the expiration of their 48 hours expiration?”