June 25, 2024

Central News

at the center of it

Fresh political confrontation brews in Edo as Assembly declares ‘war’ on Gov Obaseki

LINGERING shenanigans in the politics of Edo State do not seem to be abating one bit: this time, it is between Gov. Godwin Obaseki and the state house of assembly.
Lawmakers are accusing the governor of funds misappropriation of funds, and illegally taking N45 million each from the accounts of the state’s 18 local governments.
Dust is barely settling on the crisis that erupted between Gov. Obaseki and his deputy, Comrade Philip Shaibu, after the governor relocated the deputy’s offices outside Government House, Benin-City.
Comrade Shaibu was also surreptitiously excluded from all state executive tasks and even barred from going to the governor’s office or home.
For months, private and public apologies for “forgiveness of whatever wrongs done” by the deputy, were rebuffed by Obaseki until barely two weeks ago.
This time, 22 members of the Edo State House of Assembly accuse the governor of misappropriating funds approved for the purchase of vehicles for assembly members, and renovation of their official quarters, as well as illegal deductions from local government accounts, among others.
The situation is getting to a boiling point, as the assembly members claim they have not been provided with official vehicles four months after their inauguration.
A serving state lawmaker who pleads anonymity says that since their June 2023 inauguration, the assembly members have been forced to lodge in hotels, except for those who already had personal accommodation in Benin-City before their swearing in.
This arrangement has left the assembly members dissatisfied, as they are required to use their meager accommodation allowances to cover the cost.
This angry assemblyman also claims that some of his colleagues took loans from the banks to pay for their lodging costs because their “meager” allowances could not cover the same.
He says that 22 members of both the ruling and opposition parties, have united to protest the governor’s handling of the situation.
They have resolved to withhold their attention from any bill sent to the House by Governor Obaseki until they are provided with official vehicles and suitable accommodation.
To underscore the seriousness of their stance, the 22 protesting assembly members have signed a formal notice to that effect, which has been presented to the Speaker for delivery to the governor.
“As the assembly members await the governor’s response to their demands, it is crucial to emphasize the necessity for Governor Obaseki to respect the independence of the Legislature.
“This chaotic state the Edo State House of Assembly highlights the importance of transparency, accountability, and the separation of powers in a functioning democracy.”
Besides their grievances over personal welfare, members also allege that in a “brazen show of fiscal rascality,” Governor Obaseki in addition to regular illegal deductions from local government accounts, deducted N45 million each from the 18 LGAs for October alone.
Read our source: “It is also important to bring to the attention of Edolites that the local government chairmen are being burdened with levies by way of contributions to sponsor the on-going Betsy Obaseki Women’s Football Tournament (BOWFT).
“This has crippled the effective functioning of this crucial arm of government which bears the responsibility of bringing governance closer to the people, especially in our rural areas.”
He says the governor must urgently address these issues and work towards a resolution that respects the rights and needs of the state legislators and allows local governments to work with their allocated funds.
‘Only then can stability and productivity be restored to the Edo State,” the assemblyman asserts.