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I have no power to bring back 14 Edo lawmakers — Obaseki

EDO State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, said on Monday he had no power to bring back the 14 lawmakers who refused to be inaugurated as members of the state House of Assembly.

Obaseki, who disclosed this to journalists when he paid a thank-you visit to the National Working Committee (NWC) of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Abuja, said the elected-lawmakers were not prevented from being inaugurated but they “refused to undertake the exercise.”

He was accompanied on the trip by his deputy, Philip Shaibu and other PDP leaders in the state including the former Minister of Works, Mike Onolememen and the former Minister of External Affairs, Chief Tom Ikimi.

The Edo State House of Assembly had on December 4 last year declared 14 seats vacant.

Twelve seats were declared vacant after the elected lawmakers refused to present themselves for inauguration into the Assembly while two others were stopped for failing to meet the mandatory sitting requirements to continue as members.

The seats were for Etsako West I, Etsako West II, Owan East, Owan West, Etsako Central, Etsako East, and Esan Central.

Also affected were the seats for Uhunmwonde, Oredo East, Oredo West, Egor, Ovia North East I, Ovia North East II, and Ovia southwest I.

On the declaration by the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate in the election, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, that he (Obaseki) was not qualified to participate in the election, the governor said he would wait for the court’s outcome on the matter.

He said: “They (lawmakers) were listening to their godfather who kept hoping and promising that he would unconstitutionally get the state House of Assembly to reissue a proclamation even after the court had settled the matter.

“For more than 180 days they did not come. They refused to represent the people. Those seats became vacant; that’s what the constitution says.

“They went to court after those were declared vacant by the Speaker. There is nothing I can do to that at this time.

“I wish it did not happen but people were playing God and promising what is not constitutionally possible.

“It is not about me. I am an elected governor of Edo. I am not one that plants people into the House of Assembly.

“They on their own operated the rules the way it should be, the seats are now vacant.

“We should learn that democracy is underpinned by the constitution and the law.

“Even if I wanted today to bring them back, I don’t have such powers.

“I do not have anything against them” but “I do not have such authority to bring them back to the House.”

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