By IKHILI EBALU, BENIN CITY
Briefly give your view on the crisis that came with the house inauguration ?
Throughout the elections that proceeded our arrival as candidates and eventual winners of the election in our various constituencies to represent all the constituencies in Edo State House Of Assembly. You will recalled that the governor was already well into his first term and midway into it,also former governor Com Adams Oshiomhole also aspiring to be the National Chairman and eventually became the national chairman ,all these for us ,we saw as a big plus to us politician who were aspirant and later candidates.
Immediately we emerged for our second tenure,we saw that on the build up to the inauguration of the seventh assembly ,there were now apparent divisions,members of the assembly that have come on board, we started hearing of sectional meetings that some persons chose the way they will work ,they are not ready to work with the head of gorverment in Edo state ,who is the governor.
We at the lesgislative arm ,we are part of the government .These division at the beginning appeared to be minor ,as time went by ,we start reading in the newspapers that some members have taken oath to work against certain interest and to some of us ,this was news .
As a member ,i have taken oath to the constitution of nigeria to be loyal to my country and to serve the purpose for which i was elected.and thats the only oath i know that is decent and reasonable. Unfortunately ,we saw that there was apparent division even before the inauguration ,it became clearer on the month of June which was the month of inauguration as our tenure expired towards the end of may.
We saw the national assembly ,all the gorvernors of APC joined the national chairman to come together with a formidable leardership for the national assembly, and the following week we expected same to happen in edo state but there was tempory delay as we were told that the national chairman wiĺl join the governor as he was the number one leader of APC in edo state .
At the time we expected the former governor to come we were told he had travelled overseas to attend to family matters ,however the leaders of the party in edo state started taking charge of the process to install the leadership of the assembly..
In the end positions were shared and we were told that there was gentleman understanding.So as we progressed the leadership of the party have seen the non arrival of the national chairman eventially settled the issue. We became aware through the clerk of the assembly that our letters of inauguration have come and we were to be inaugurated,but unfortunately,as we proceeded that day ,we got wind of the fact that some of our members elected were preparing for a press conference at NUJ Benin centre,eventually inauguration topk place and we had very clear thought that those who were missing out will join us immediately and the inauguration took place at about 3:30 of that fateful day.
It became clearer in the next few days that some of the members too were in that press briefing,some if them joined us,.and it became clearer that some members elect felt they were not going to be part of the assembly and i want to put it on record that there is nothing they did not do to undermine the house from taking us to court ,holding meetings wifh the intention to invade the house ,dragging us across all television stations across the country,turn the house to a place of civil strife ,i put it to the whole world that the matter also became the governorship crisis,this dragged on ,the governor was disqualified from the party that qualified him for four years ago to run for governorship.
He found himself in another party ,PDP which eventually and graciously granted him nomination .
He won the election with over 85000 votes which was a referandum on our decision,today as we speak he si back as a governor,let me also add that during the course of our waiting for our ex-colleagues, it became expedient that they will not be able to meet up with the constitutional mandatory sitting days for the house
How was the seventh assembly been so far ?
Well the seventh assembly have been wonderful,this my second term. Perhaps because we were born out of crisis ,we have become stronger,smarter,and even became more versatile in legislative work. It has given us the chance to deal into how legislator works.
In addition,lets make no mistake about it ,edo state ,if it has several needed a legislators ,the time is now . The reason is that ,if you go across the state ,you will see institutional change taking place across all circles from education ,agriculture ,employment ,civil service and even tax collection ,land administration,inter govermental relationship,alot of areas that goverment is taking a new order .
Who can better drive it ,than having legislation in place . So coupled with the fact that i have become majority leader during the entire episode ,that means the work of the majority leader ,he is the bridge between gorvernment house and the legislature and vise versa. Whether you call him a unionist fighting for his colleague ,or you call him the goverment right hand man , anyhow you look it ,the leader of the house encaptivate what the struggle of the house is.
That has become my lots in the last few months and i have seen the house of a deeper ,better perspective that the seventh assembly it is not for nothing that we have been passing bills ,we have passed 18bills and so many motions on various matters all for the good governance of edo state.
The seventh assembly has been wonderful, we have gotten tremedous support from edo people ,we can not but be grateful.
Q: How will you score the activities of the seventh assembly so far?
My score for the seventh assembly ,let me liken it to the Isrealite who in 1948 found a new country and were surrounded by enemies . Inspite of this ,Isreal is the most prosperous nation on earth today .It is prosperous because it has found out that even though God is on their side ,they still need to work harder than others.
We in the seventh assembly having found ourselves to be just 10 members instead of 24 ,we have done our very best ,performing excellently well. We can hardly travel or go for holidays . Once a member is missing ,you know ,we can hardly engage in something else ,above all the security situation in nigeria,all this things came together and put us in some level of difficulty but in the end God on our side ,strengthening us ,giving us wisdom and above all coming to our aid,even when we aĺl fell sick at the break of covid,our former speaker fell sick ,a few months later ,some other members fell sick ,but we all survived,we thank God ,.