A lot of things are at stake in Edo state over the next one year – a crucial governorship election beckons and there are already maneuverings over who picks the tickets of the big parties. Governor Godwin Obaseki, who would be hoping to run for a second term, is currently locked in a cold war with his predecessor and godfather, Adams Oshiomhole, who also happens to be the current national chairman of the ruling APC.
The state assembly as battleground: The various camps within the APC see the leadership of the incoming state assembly as crucial for their aspirations, and are looking to put their loyalists in charge. As a result of this politics, Edo has still not inaugurated its state assembly.
What’s happening: By law, the governor is charged with inaugurating a new assembly. Until he proclaims it, no new assembly can be formed. And up till now Obaseki has refused to inaugurate the assembly even though the previous one expired on June 7, almost two weeks ago.
Some of the members-elect are taking him to task over it, with some accusing him of attempting to truncate democracy:
- Some of the members-elect led by a former commissioner of education in the state, Julius Osifo, told reporters at the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) secretariat in Benin, the state capital on Monday, that Gov. Obaseki was working against the state’s interests.
- “Today, we members-elect of the Edo state house of assembly wish to bring to the knowledge of the people of Edo State and the general public of the attempt by Governor Obaseki to truncate democracy,” he said. “There cannot be democracy without legislature, because it is the legislature that gives credence to democracy.”
What’s at stake: According to Osifo, the governor’s delay is an attempt to impose his preferred candidates for leadership of the legislative body.
“It is also common knowledge that the governor, no matter how powerful, cannot impose individuals either as Speaker on legislators. At best, he can only lobby for his preferred candidates as was witnessed at the National Assembly,” he said.