Tony Osauzo, Benin
The factional 10-member Edo State House of Assembly was in the eye of the storm yesterday, as nine lawmakers consisting six PDP and three APC, unanimously impeached the the Speaker, Mr. Francis Abumere Okiye.
Okiye who represents Esan North East Constituency, was also suspended from the House for three months.
In his stead, the lawmakers elected Mr. Marcus Onobun, representing Esan West Constituency as the new Speaker.
Trouble was said to have started for Okiye shortly after the House resumed its plenary and he asked the Clerk, Alhaji Yahaya Omogbai, to read the order of proceedings for the day to the hearing of members in order for the House to begin the business of the day.
But the Majority Leader of the House, Henry Okhuarobo, was said to have quickly drawn the attention of Okiye to a petition against him and reeled out the impeachment motion.
The lawmakers accused Okiye of alleged financial impropriety and unanimously impeached him, following a motion moved by Henry Okhuarobo representing Ikpoba-Okha Constituency and seconded by the member representing Akoko-Edo 1 Constituency, Prince Yekini Idaiye.
The member representing Igueben Constituency, Mr. Ephraim Aluebhosele had earlier moved a motion to nominate the new speaker after Okhuarobo raised the issue of a petition against Okiye and was seconded by the member representing Akoko-Edo 11 constituency, Mr Emmanuel Agbaje.
Deputy Speaker of the House, Mr. Roland Asoro, presided over the plenary shortly after the impeachment process.
Members of the house unanimously adopted the impeachment motion through a voice vote.
The Lawmakers thereafter set up a committee headed by Okhuarobo to probe Okiye and submit the report to the House.
In his comment, new Speaker, Mr. Marcus Onobun, thanked the members for his election and quickly swung into action by dissolving the House’s standing Committees just as he relieved the appointees of the former Speaker of their appointments.
Besides, Mr. Onobun also constituted a three-man Committee to look into financial records of the House under the leadership of the former speaker.
Efforts by the State Deputy Governor Comrade Philip Shaibu, Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Osarodion Ogie Esq. and immediate past Speaker and Political Adviser to the Governor (Edo North Senatorial district) Mr. Kabiru Adjoto, to wade into the matter, failed as the lawmakers had concluded the impeachment process.
Many of the aides to the former Speaker and workers, including police personnel attached to the Assembly, were seen stranded amid confusion at the time of this report.
Efforts to reach Okiye yesterday for comment over his removal failed as he would not pick calls to his mobile phone.
Speaking to newsmen on the impeachment of Okiye, the Majority Leader, Henry Okhuarobo said “the members have compelling reasons to do what they did and that the House needed to wait till now because of political reasons and now the process is over.
“Irrespective of APC or PDP, we are united in the quest to move the state forward”.