July 15, 2024

EDO HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY SPEAKERSHIP: Why Tony Okonigene Got It All Wrong

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EDO HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY SPEAKERSHIP: Why Tony Okonigene Got It All Wrong
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While it is very true that the first three major positions in the state; the Governor, Deputy Governor and Speaker of the House of Assembly, are the tripod on which governance in the state rests, it is also true that these positions are conventionally shared among the three Senatorial districts of the state.

Right now in Edo State, the Governor, His Excellency, Godwin Nogheghase Obaseki is from Edo South. His Deputy, His Excellency Comrade Philip Shaibu is from Edo North while the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Marcus Onobun is from Edo Central. The Governorship election is in 2024 and the new Governor which conscientious Edolites are praying should come from Edo Central will be sworn into office in November of 2024.

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It is therefore inexplicable while this debate as to whether Edo Central should have the Speakership or not when the same augment put forward by Tony Okonigene is inimical to the balance of power among the three senatorial districts.

It will be interesting to know what senatorial district those cooking up this ideology intend to muscle with two of the legs of power and authority in the state. Are they saying Edo South should wield the authority of Governor and Speaker or that Edo North should have the Deputy Governor and Speaker simply because Edo Central is asking for Governor come November 2024?

In the balance of power in Edo State, Edo Central has been on the losing end for a long time. Yet many from the district still can’t see it. Let us take a retrospective look at the 5th and 6th Assembly of the Edo State House Assembly in relation to the Executive Arm of Government over same period.

At the time the 5th Assembly came on Board, the Executive Governor of the State, His Excellency, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole from Edo North was on board and his Deputy was His Excellency, Dr. Pius Odubu from Edo South. The position of Speaker went to Rt. Hon. Uyi Igbe from the same district as the Deputy Governor while Esan was cornered with the position of Deputy Speaker on the ground that there wasn’t an “experienced legislator” from the ruling party that had majority in the House of Assembly.

Then came the 6th Assembly. Comrade Oshiomhole (Edo North) was still on seat, Dr. Odubu (Edo South) was still there and Rt. Hon. Victor Edoror (Edo Central) became Speaker. In less than a year, the table turned and the Speakership went back to Edo South in the person of Rt. Hon. Elizabeth Uyinmwen Ativie and Edo Central was again kicked to the kerb with the position of Deputy Speaker.
By the middle of the term of that Assembly, a gentleman agreement was reached to ratify the injustice and imbalance in the tripod of power in Edo State. That arrangement produced Rt. Hon. Dr. Justin Okonoboh as Speaker from Edo Central. However there was a shift in power at the Executive Arm where the Governor’s seat had moved to Edo South in the Person of His Excellency, Godwin Nogheghase Obaseki and the Deputy Governor went to Edo North in the person of His Excellency, Comrade Philip Shaibu.

The gentleman agreement didn’t last long. The table moved again and Edo North got the Speaker in the Person of Rt. Hon. Kabiru Ajoto (Edo North) from the same senatorial district as the Deputy Governor. Once again Edo Central was asked to make do with the Deputy Speaker’s position.

One therefore could imagine the joy seeing Edo Central holding that office since the inception of the 7th Assembly and also very depressing to read or hear someone from the region being a proponent of gifting it to either the district with the Governor or Deputy Governor. Once upon a time, it was ‘no experienced legislator’ today it is ‘you know you are looking for Governor’! Ahu’arḙ khua’hu!

It is pertinent Edo Central takes what is hers at every given point in time. It is needful for Edo State to balance that tripod now. The Gubernatorial election is another opportunity to right the wrongs and to set Edo State on the part of equity, unity, development and progress.

© Godwin Eigbe
May 6, 2023

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