By Peterson Ibi/Benin
The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has hinted that the state might press sedition and treason charges against the 14 members-elect of the State House of Assembly, whose seats have been declared vacant.
The governor who disclosed this on Wednesday in Benin, while reacting to calls to pardon the erring Assembly members-elect, during an interactive session with stakeholders from Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC) and other civil society groups.
The candidate of the APC in the September 19, 2020, governorship election in the state, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, had on Monday in a letter to Obaseki, urged him to consider the case of the 14 lawmakers-elect who had refused to be sworn-in, following a disagreement over who should be elected Speaker.
The seats were in December 2019, declared vacant by the House led by former Speaker Francis Okiye, for being absent from the House proceedings for the mandatory 181 days.
The 14 members-elect later set up a parallel House, and were sworn-in by a retired Clerk of the State House of Assembly, allegedly in the living room of one of their supporters.
But, responding to the calls, the governor asserted that their fate rests with the court.
According to him, “Some characters said they sent congratulatory letters to me and put it in all kinds of conditions.
“How can you tell me to forgive those 14 lawmakers-elect who are responsible for sedition and treason in Nigeria? Of course, we are going to start charges.
“You see, what is bad is bad. Let’s stop covering up things so that people can learn and not do it again. We have gotten support from all of you and are very glad and happy; your support gives us the confidence to continue to fight.”
Obaseki called for the support of all stakeholders towards achieving lasting peace and development in Edo.
He added: “For us as a government, we are open. There is nothing that we are hiding and this is why we have to kill anything that links us to godfatherism. We have killed it at the national level and need to kill it locally as it is everywhere. I urge you to please be activists for good, peace and development.
“This engagement is to see how we can collaborate and make things work differently; this is a time that we need leadership more than ever before.”
Chairman of NLC in Edo State, Mr. Sunday Osanyande, urged the government to digitize revenue collection by migrating to e-revenue collection systems, which will check leakages.
Osanyande noted that the e-revenue collection system would further increase the state government Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).