Drama in Edo as speaker suspends Shaibu’s ally, 2 other members

There was drama at the Edo State House of Assembly on Monday as Speaker Blessing Agbebaku suspended three members indefinitely over an alleged plot to impeach him and other principal officers, as well as reports of charms found in the house.

The suspended lawmakers include one All Progressives Congress (APC) member and two from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

One of the suspended members, Donald Okogbe (PDP), representing Akoko-Edo II, was the only member who declined to sign the impeachment letter for former Deputy Governor Philip Shaibu.

The other suspended members are Addeh Emankhu Isibor (APC), representing Esan North-East I constituency, and Iyamu Bright (PDP), representing Orhionnwon II state constituency.

Agbebaku alleged that the suspended lawmakers plotted to change the house’s leadership, influenced by external forces seeking to cause chaos and effect changes in leadership. He also claimed that unidentified individuals brought native doctors into the house at midnight on May 1 to perform rituals and placed charms in the assembly complex to effect these changes.

The suspension led to tension and a rowdy session in the house, with the affected lawmakers protesting the speaker’s unilateral action and demanding a vote by members on the matter. But sensing the potential for chaos, the Speaker adjourned plenary hastily.

The suspended members, in response, described their suspension as vendetta and politically motivated, stating that the speaker’s actions were an attempt to suppress democratic ideals and principles.

Donald Okogbe emphasized that the speaker does not have the unilateral power to suspend a member, arguing that such action should have the support of the majority of the members according to the house rules and the constitution of Nigeria.

“The allegations levelled against us are untrue and founded; the action of the speaker is just impunity and tyranny of the red chair. So, our position is that the speaker does not have the sole power to suspend. That is the point we made in the house. The power to suspend a member rests on the members of the house, not the speaker  alone,” he said.

On the allegation of fetish items deposited at the premises of the house, Donald said that, as a Catholic, he does not involve himself in rituals.

Iyamu Bright also criticized the suspension, stating that it did not follow the relevant house rules and the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Meanwhile, reactions have continued to trail the development in the state House of Assembly. The governorship candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC) for the September 21 governorship election in the state, Udoh Oberaifo, condemned the suspension of three members and called for their immediate recall.

“Our courts have consistently held that the disciplinary powers of legislative houses like the Edo State House of Assembly do not extend to reckless suspension,” he noted.


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