Posted by By Osaro Okhomina on
FEAR of impeachment, last week, gripped the seat of government in Edo State following the alarm raised by the former Director-General of the Centre of Democratic Studies (CDS),
FEAR of impeachment, last week, gripped the seat of government in Edo State following the alarm raised by the former Director-General of the Centre of Democratic Studies (CDS), Professor Omo Omoruyi over an alleged active recruitment of members of the state House of Assembly and the deputy governor, Chief Mike Oghiadomhe, by some political forces within the PDP in Benin and Abuja, to perfect the impeachment process against the state governor, Chief Lucky Igbinedion.
Ordinarily, the allegation of an impeachment of the state governor, Chief Lucky Igbinedion would have been brushed aside by the party and the members of the House of Assembly as an impossible task. But, three important indicators were considered by many, thus creating fear of another Bayelsa and Oyo Story. These issues include the personality raising the alarm , Professor Omoruyi, who is considered by the Edo people to be an authority to be taken seriously. Also the issue of the protracted factional crisis within the Igbinedion and Chief Tony Anenih camps and the rising cases of impeachment of governors in Bayelsa and Oyo States will not allow observers of political events shrug off the alleged plot as a rumor.
More worrisome for party leaders in Edo, was the claim by Professor Omoruyi that former military Head of State, General Ibrahim Babangida, in expressing his concern over political events in the state, had asked him to investigate the alleged plan by some elements within the party opposed to the government of the state to impeach the governor.
Professor Omo Omoruyi, a renowned Political Scientist, on the 29th of January invited the media to a press briefing entitled, “The State Swoops in Danger” that after three days of investigative visits to the leaders of the party, including the state governor, Chief Lucky Igbinedion and the Edo south senatorial leader, Chief Sunny Uyigwe, that the threat of impeachment was real. According to Omoruyi, “ I came to the state on Friday and went into action with consultations with parties in the various camps in the state PDP. The impeachment word was in the air and freely used by them. My preliminary discussion with the leaders of the faction within the PDP opposed to the governor was on the implications on Edo state in general and the Edo South in particular. I decided to direct my detailed inquiry to the key leaders of the two sides in the politics of the PDP, Hon. Sunny Uyigwe and Governor Lucky Igbinedion.
He said, "the findings from these visits showed clearly that the threat to the government of the State is bothering on the Impeachment word. And that it is been pursued within the politics of faction within the party and has the blessing and support of the Abuja Leadership of the PDP. It is also coordinated and funded from the South-South State of Bayelsa. That the Edo South PDP Leaders are involved through a visit at Abuja to complain that unless the Government of the State was changed the faction stood no chance with the impending election to the Local Councils later in the year. And the Abuja Leadership of the faction opposed to the Government then advised to the Edo South Leaders of the Party opposed to the Governor to embark on the impeachment word.”
He however added that “there is an active recruitment of House of Assembly Members especially from those Loyal to the government in order to secure the required number to commence the impeachment word. That there is an active recruitment of the Deputy Governor of the State.”
Many who read the position of the Professor of Political Science on the alleged Plot were shocked. The Elders of the Party in the Edo South loyal to the Chairman of the Party Board of Trustee, led by Chief Sunny Uyigwe, the Speaker and members of the State House of Assembly and the State Deputy Governor, Chief Mike Oghiadomhe expressed shock, surprise and anger at the learned Professor for spreading “such grievous and false rumor. For Oghiadomhe, who had over the last six years, remained one of the few Deputies considered to be loyal to their boss, the issue of his being lobbied to betray his boss, ”shocking”
He said through his chief press secretary (CPS), Mr Dan Aigbavboa that ”he was surprised and shocked that such untrue statement could be made by such highly placed person as Professor Omoruyi. He wishes to make it clear that such allegation is entirely false. And calls on those involved to come out with details of the alleged meeting. He maintained that his loyalty to the governor cannot be compromised”. The Oghiadomhe camp went a step further to claim that some persons were behind the plot to break the brotherly love existing between him and the governor.
A source close to the deputy governor`s office claimed that the governor has been under pressure by some persons, serving in the State cabinet, to break the accord with his Deputy, but such pressure was shrugged off by the governor. But the group recently, renewed the campaign of alleged disloyalty with the Publication of a Congratulatory letter written by the Chief Oghiadomhe to the Governor of Bayelsa, Dr Jonathan Goodluck on assumption of Office after the impeachment of the his Former boss. According to the Source,” his sins, as claimed by the group, is the fact that the Governor trust his deputy more than those from the Edo South in the cabinet and the fact that he is trying to convince the Governor not to buy the plan to dump the PDP for any other party including the MDD in protest against the overbearing attitude of Chief Anenih.. Even they want to frustrate the Deputy ambition for Governorship in 2007 because of his risisng profile in the state as a loyal deputy”
In their reaction to the alleged use of the Edo South Senatorial district as a platform for the alleged impeachment, the Elders of the Party, in the district, known to be opposed to the governance of Chief Lucky Igbinedion, described the Professor Omo Omoruyi’s alarm as “false, provocative and evil”. Chief Sunny Uyigwe, speaking on behalf of the Leaders, acknowledge that he met with the learned Professor on the 28th of January over political issues,” he sought to know if there were plans to impeach Governor Lucky Igbinedion of Edo State. I told him that there were no plans whatsoever, at least not within the sphere of my Political control or knowledge, to impeach the governor, the claim that the threat to the government of the State is real bothering on impeachment is false, baseless and a figment of Professor Omo Omoruyi imagination and to insinuate that the Edo South leaders are involved is malicious, wicked and provocative” Chief Uyigwe, who hails from the same political area as the father of the Governor, Chief Gabriel Igbinedion, however, claimed to know why the issues of impeachment is being used and those “using” the learned Professor in the political chess game, “I was told that after he(Omoruyi) left my place, he went straight to the residence of “founder” of Grace group and was taken along with the newly appointed personal assistant to the governor to meet his excellency. They made so many allegations that we know about but we remained resolute that any impeachment of the governor will not favor anybody and we have waited long enough on the issue of the party, we are ready to wait till his tenure ends”
State House of Assembly position
The leadership of the state House of Assembly may not have resumed sitting after last year`s break, the issue of the Professor Omo Omoruyi allegation of a recruitment exercise of members to impeach the state governor, Chief Igbinedion seems to have nudged some of them into attention. The Speaker, Mr David Iyoha ,who, before now had traveled outside the Country on holidays, aborted the trip and jetted back into the State.
Unlike in the past where the Governor Igbinedion faction controls the majority of Members, the issue of the equal percentage of Members, Twelve each,may be causing some discomfort. But the Speaker, Mr. David Iyoha in reaction to the alleged recruitment of Members for the impeachment plot, dismissed it saying, ”the House is not aware of such exercise and as a Speaker I don’t have a petition of such on my table.You must know that impeachment is not done in the market place but by proper democratic procedures. We would call on the Professor to please furnish us with more facts on those involved until then we would see the alleged plot as a mere rumor”.While many of the Legislators loyal to both sides of the divide in the party express shock over the allegation and said they would not make a categorical statement on the allegation until they resume on Febuary 14th”
The IBB Connection
Until now, the issue of Babangida’s involvement with any leader of the factional party crisis in the State has never being an issue. While many previously see his visits and friendship with the head of the Igbinedion family, Chief Gabriel Igbinedion has a personal thing rather than a political one. Others believe that his interest in the Presidency in 2007 and closeness to Professor Omo Omoruyi and State, since his administration created it, may be responsible for his suspicion on an alleged impeachment plot.
In the words of Professor Omoruyi,” I came to the State on the advise of General Babangida who expressed concern about what he heard about the State.What is it he hear about the State? He heard that there were plans by some elements within the PDP opposed to the Government to cause disorder in the state. He said ”go to your state” “Find out what is happening and report to me immediately”. Assure the people and government of the State that they should live in accordance with the constitution. Maybe you would want to know the special interest of IBB in the state, he created it and there are certain expectations of him that can I can deal with under question and Answer”
But the claimed was contested by the Leaders of the PDP in Edo South, Chief Sunny Uyigwe argued that though it is recognized the fact that the Former President created Edo and Delta States,”Professor Omoruyi in my discussion with him does not disclosed that he was on evil mission for Babangida. Where was General Babangida when the Governor of Delta was being haunted”
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