Monday, May 9, 2016 6:21 pm
There was palpable tension at the Edo State House of Assembly, when the lawmakers convened for their legislative duties, as stern-looking security operatives cordoned off the Assembly Complex. The House however made history, following the swearing-in of the first female Speaker of the House, Elizabeth Ativie.
A combined team of security operatives, made up of operatives of Nigeria Police Force, Department of State Security and the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, were there apparently to forestall a possible break down of law and order. Over than 10 Hilux patrol vehicles and an armoured personnel carrier were strategically positioned around the complex.
Ativie’s emergence as Speaker followed the impeachment of the former Speaker of the House, Hon. Victor Edoror and his Deputy, Bright Osayande, last Tuesday over alleged financial recklessness, high-handedness, dictatorial tendencies among others.
She becomes the 15th speaker of the House from the defunct Midwest region to Bendel State and the present Edo state.
The House also elected new Principal Officers and new heads of House Committees shortly after administration of oath of office on the new Speaker by the Clerk of the House, Lawson Ugiagbe. The member representing Owan East Constituency, Mr. Foly Ogedengbe, retained his position as the Majority Leader.
Kabiru Adjoto ( Akoko Edo I, APC) was elected as the new Chief Whip, replacing Sunday Aghedo (Ovia South-West, APC), while Henry Okhuarobo (Ikpoba-Okha) was elected as Deputy Leader. Audu Ganiyu (Etsako West I) and Patrick Iluobe (Esan North-East, PDP) were elected as Deputy Whip and Minority Leader, respectively, while Crosby Eribo (Egor, APC) and Ugabi Kingsley (Etsako East) were appointed as co-opted members.
In her inaugural speech, the Speaker said: “History has been made in the Edo State House of Assembly as by the power of God and the pleasure of my very distinguished colleagues, I have been chosen as the first female Speaker of the House, a position which the entire women of Edo state and the world at large are so pleased.
“I wish to reiterate that all political appointees or appointment of the former Speaker stand terminated. That is how it has been in the past and even the letters given to them have always stated that they will leave with Speaker. So, it is not a new thing that we are doing. So, they stand terminated.
“In the spirit of oneness, in the spirit of breaking new grounds and working harder and in the spirit of reconciliation, I wish to announce that the suspension of the honourable member representing Esan Central, Victor Edoror, is hereby lifted. So, he can come in and join us in business of the development of our fatherland.”
She assured the Executive arm of government of the House’s continued collaboration to collectively transform the State towards making it the envy of all as well as promulgate laws that will uplift the living standard of the people of State.
The House also passed a resolution to extend its business calendar for the fourth quarter (first session) of the sixth Assembly to May 18, 2016, bringing the total number of days for the session to 203. Order 20, 21 and 22 of the Standing Order of the House were suspended to enable the extension so as to “complete some very urgent assignments” while sitting was later adjourned to May 10, 2016.
In an interview with journalists, the former Speaker, Edoror said he has accepted the decision of the party to maintain the current leadership of House. He said, “As far as I am concerned, I am very pleased with members of the Edo State House of Assembly. I give them kudos for giving me the opportunity to lead them for one year. But it is another opportunity for them to test another leadership. In about two, three months, they will begin to compare. But I wish them well.
“I wish the new Speaker well. I wish members of the Edo State House of Assembly well and, above all, I wish the people of Edo State (well) because the party that I belong to, the government that I belong to, we have met and have resolved that it should be so and so be it. And in the spirit of sportsmanship, I think in this game there is no victor no vanquished.”