The Edo State House of Assembly, presided over by Rt. Hon Speaker Francis Okiye, has been carrying out its legislative functions without 14 members-elect who are yet to be sworn-in.
Following the crisis over who becomes the speaker of the house, nine members-elect were inaugurated on July 17, this year by the Clerk of the House, Alhaji Yahaya Ogmogbai. Okiye representing Esan North East 1, constituency was elected as Speaker of the House during the inauguration.
Few days after, two other members were inaugurated by the speaker bringing the total to 11 members.
However, one of the inaugurated lawmakers had since stopped attending the plenary. He has joined 13 members-elect who have not been sworn-in to drag the speaker and other members to the National Assembly, demanding issuance of fresh proclamation letter.
Our correspondent reports that so far, the House has passed five bills and 15 motions including a bill to establish ‘Edo State College of Agriculture and Natural Recourses and other matters there-in’ which has been assented to by Governor Godwin Obaseki. Eight commissioner-nominees presented by the governor have been screened by the House.
Also, the members have carried out several oversight functions. The state lawmakers, our correspondent reports would soon proceed on recess.
Meanwhile, the speaker, Frank Okiye, after the court judgment that stopped the National Assembly from taking over the House, called on members-elect that have not been inaugurated to come forward for inauguration. But the members-elect, it was gathered, are still in Abuja insisting that the governor must issue a fresh proclamation.
The Edo State House of Assembly is made up of 24 lawmakers. A quorum, according to the House rule is one-third of the entire members. On the day of the inauguration, nine members-elect were at the chamber. The number is said to have satisfied the provisions of the law on one-third of 24.
But others are insisting that a quorum should be based on the entire members of the Assembly and not the nine present on the day of inauguration.
The state government and the House of Assembly had approached the court which declared that governor Obaseki can’t send a fresh proclamation letter.
The Federal High Court in Port-Harcourt presided over by Justice Kolawole Omotosho also ruled that the National Assembly lacked power to direct Governor Obaseki, to issue fresh proclamation, saying such would amount to extending the tenure of members of the House of Assembly.
Following the development, some residents have been calling for the declaration of the seats of the 14 members-elect vacant.
One of the residents, Eghosa Asemota Agbonifo, called on the authority to declare the seat of the member representing Oredo West constituency, Chris Okaeben, vacant for lack of representation.
Eghosa said: “It is quite disheartening that after 90 days since the election was conducted, the representative of Oredo West constituency is yet to resume and move motions that will engender development in the constituency.”