Monday, July 25, 2016 5:43 pm
Members of Edo State House of Assembly on Monday effected minor but peaceful change in the leadership of the House, in an unprecedented circumstance in the history of Nigeria’s democracy.
The change saw the Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. (Mrs.) Elizabeth Ativie, (APC, Uhunmwode), stepping down for her Deputy, Hon. Justine Okonoboh (APC, Igueben Constituency), a first timer in the Assembly, to take over as Speaker,
The said the change was to address the political imbalance in the political leadership in the state.
Elizabeth Ativie emerged the first female Speaker of the House as well as in the South-South geo-political zone on May 3, 2016, after the impeachment of the former Speaker, Victor Edoror.
Earlier during plenary, the Majority Leader of the House, Hon. Foly Ogedengbe (APC, Owan East Constituency), had moved a motion on matters of urgent public importance, for the duo to swerve position.
He said the change was to correct the imbalance in the political leadership of the state, adding that the decision was for public interest and not personal, but to correct the alleged marginalization of the Edo Central senatorial district in the political leadership of the State.
The motion was seconded by the Deputy Majority Leader, Henry Okhuaroboh and was supported by 19 out of the 24 members.
Following exhaustive deliberation, the legislators suspended rule 1 sub 2, 20, 22 and 73 of the House to elevate the former Deputy Speaker to the position of Speaker.
In his inaugural speech, the new Speaker, Justine Okonoboh, who likened his emergence as Speaker to that of the former President Goodluck Jonathan, said: “I became deputy speaker of the house without lobby. I am now Speaker, again without lobby too. Some people have called me [Ppresident Goodluck] Jonathan, but I give praise to God.”
In the political hierarchy in the State, Edo North produces the Governor, Adams Oshiomhole; Edo South produces the Deputy Governor, Dr. Pius Odubu; while Edo Central produced the Speaker of the House.
But the impeachment of Victor Edoror, an APC member representing Esan Central Constituency, on May 16, 2016, over alleged gross financial misconduct, high-handedness, dictatorial tendencies, violation of House rules and regulations, Elizabeth Aitivie, representing Uhunmwode from Edo South, was elected Speaker, leaving the Edo Central with the position of the Deputy Speaker.
The author, Jethro Ibileke, can be reached at [email protected]