Tony Osauzo And Ighomuaye Lucky
The House of Representatives ad-hoc committee set up to investigate the inauguration crisis rocking the Edo State House of Assembly, yesterday, debunked insinuation that it was being teleguided by some persons.
The chairman of the committee, Abdulrazak Namdas debunked the insinuation while speaking to journalists at the Benin Airport shortly after arriving Benin from Abuja. “Who should teleguide us; we are men of integrity; we are also politicians in our own rights, we have track records to prove. We have also men that you can never question their characters; so the issue of anybody teleguiding us does not arise and we have not given you a report, so, why are you insinuating. Nothing is happening.”
He explained that the committee was in Edo to investigate the crisis in the state House of Assembly with a view to having a lasting solution to the problem. “And we are here, I am chairman of the committee and entire members of the committee; we are trying to make a fact finding and make recommendations to the honourable members. We are going to meet the stakeholders, clerk of the house and all the people that are expected to be seen; we need to see them today and then go back to Abuja and then conclude over there.
“We have started the process already and you know this committee has been given just a week; we have met with the governor of the state, we have met with other members of the house of assembly from Edo state that are in Abuja and we are going to meet with the remaining ones that are here in Edo, and the clerk and other stakeholders. I think that is all that we are here for and it is almost over.”
Earlier, the Deputy Governor of Edo State, Mr. Philip Shaibu, while receiving members of the committee, said the state has no choice but to resolve the political crisis. He recalled that the national chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole, led the fight against godfatherism in the state in the past.
“We don’t even have a choice about this reconciliation because All Progressives Congress (APC), won all the 24 members of the House. We have fought for democracy in this state. But today, what we are seeing now is that, some group of people are trying to use the House of Assembly to return us back to the battle that we have already won, and we are saying no to it. We have a House of Assembly now that has followed all the due process and these people have decided to remain in Abuja and refuse to be inaugurated,” he said.
The Chairman of the committee, Abdulrazak Namdas, said that they had met with Governor Godwin Obaseki, and “we have been briefed, I assure you that we will just take few minutes of your time”
He sued for the Deputy Governor’s cooperation and support in resolving the impasse.
“We are here to resolve this crisis in line with the 1999 constitution. We have been mandated by the National Assembly to do this job and we will do it as it is expected of us”, Namdas said.
Addressing the House of Assembly members, Namdas said they were in the state to see how the crisis will be resolved. He asked the Clerk of the House to state what happened that the other members were not inaugurated.
“When we got the letter we notified the members-elect but before the letter came, I had already briefed the members and sent letters and text messages to them. And those who acknowledged the message, I told them to make themselves available.
“I told them what to be done by way of documentation; prepared forms for them to fill and we asked them to bring two passports photograph and certificate of return and get a certificate of code of conduct assets declaration.
“So, about eleven of them have not filled their forms and brought their assets declaration certificate. The only thing I have from them was the list from INEC’s writ of return which INEC sent to me. I called for the letters and I have been exchanging text messages with all of them.
“On the 17th in the morning, I sent out a notice telling them we are going to inaugurate the House by 3pm. Then, when we waited till that 3pm, on that day and most of them were not forthcoming, I tried calling most of them and by 3.30pm when we had twelve of them ready for the inauguration but three could not meet up.
“So, the nine that submitted their certificates of asset declaration to me, we had to declare them and told them that we had to continue with inauguration. Before the governor sent letter on the 14th , the whole place was almost on fire because they were all complaining they have been waiting for the letter”, the Clerk of the House said.
On his part, the Speaker of the House, Hon. Frank Okiye, said “there were some build up of acrimony before the 17th. We were actually not aware that some members have ganged up and they were not willing to submit.”