By Jethro Ibileke/Benin
Governor Godwin Obaseki said the state might press sedition and treason charges against the 14 elected members of the State House of Assembly, whose seats were declared vacant.
Obaseki spoke on the legal move on Wednesday in Benin, while reacting to calls to pardon the Assembly members-elect.
He spoke at an interactive session with Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC) and other civil society groups.
Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, Obaseki’s rival in the September 2020 election in a letter to appealed to Obaseki to consider the case of the 14 lawmakers-elect who refused to be sworn-in, following a disagreement over who should be elected Speaker.
The seats were in December 2019, declared vacant by the House led by former Speaker Francis Okiye, for being absent from the House proceedings for the mandatory 181 days.
The 14 members-elect later set up a parallel House, and were sworn-in by a retired Clerk of the State House of Assembly, allegedly in the living room of one of their supporters.
But, responding to the calls, the governor said the fate of the assembly members-elect rests with the court.
“Some characters said they sent congratulatory letters to me and put it in all kinds of conditions.
“How can you tell me to forgive those 14 lawmakers-elect who are responsible for sedition and treason in Nigeria? Of course, we are going to start charges.
“You see, what is bad is bad. Let’s stop covering up things so that people can learn and not do it again. We have gotten support from all of you and are very glad and happy; your support gives us the confidence to continue to fight.”
Obaseki called for the support of all stakeholders towards achieving lasting peace and development in Edo.
“For us as a government, we are open. There is nothing that we are hiding and this is why we have to kill anything that links us to godfatherism. We have killed it at the national level and need to kill it locally as it is everywhere. I urge you to please be activists for good, peace and development.
“This engagement is to see how we can collaborate and make things work differently; this is a time that we need leadership more than ever before.”
The Chairman of NLC in Edo State, Mr. Sunday Osanyande, urged the government to digitalise revenue collection by migrating to e-revenue collection systems, which will check leakages.
Osanyande noted that the e-revenue collection system would further increase the state government Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).