The massive defection of key members of the All Progressives Congress in Edo State to the Peoples Democratic Party has been ascribed to the fallout of the APC ward, local and state congresses and the alleged dictatorial attitude of Governor Adams Oshiomhole.
The crisis has not only polarized the state House of Assembly but has snowballed into deteriorating dimension with the recent brutalization of a member representing Etsako West Constituency, Hon. Razak Momoh.
Investigations revealed that Hon. Momoh who had defected to the Peoples Democratic Party from the All Progressives Congress with four other members of the state House of Assembly had his seat declared vacant by the factional speaker, Uyi Igbe, in July after he had rejected several entreaties from the governor who was said to have felt slighted by the actions of the lawmaker from his local government area.
It was gathered by our source that in spite of persuasions from the governor for Hon. Razak Momoh to see reasons and come back to the APC, the state legislator stood his ground citing all manners of humiliations he has received from the governor and his clique, part of which was the allegation of gun running by an Etsako lawmaker that led to his arrest in the last local government election in the state and subsequent detention.
According to the source who pleaded anonymity, “Governor Oshiomhole told some of his confidants how embarrassed he felt by the action of Hon. Razak Momoh, describing it as a political blow to him for a lawmaker representing one of his constituencies to defect from his party, the APC to the PDP and therefore threatened to teach the lawmaker the lesson he will never forget in a hurry”.
The crisis later escalated and culminated to suspensions and counter-suspension between the APC and PDP lawmakers, and the subsequent emergence of two speakers, Hon Uyi Igbe and Hon Festus Ebea respectively.
The governor, having been fingered as the architect of the polarization of the House of Assembly crisis, is said to have been afraid of impeachment as a result of the financial recklessness and other misconducts leveled against him by the decamped APC lawmakers to the extent that he was said to have made clandestine moves by trying to induce the opposition lawmakers with N50million and a brand new 2014 model Prado jeeps through Hon Phillip Shuaibu, the majority leader and having failed to lure the lawmakers, the governor through the factional Speaker, Igbe announced that the House of Assembly complex was going to be renovated and as such plenary was shifted to the old exco chambers inside Edo government house knowing fully well that the PDP members will not attend sittings inside government house.
Meanwhile, the Etsako west lawmaker was said to have complained severally to the police about attempts on his life after the complaints about his forged signature came to public knowledge even when there was no reaction from the law- enforcement agents until the incident of Tuesday night when the lawmaker, who is said to be on danger list at the intensive unit of the University of Benin Teaching hospital after he was beaten and battered to a pulp by suspected thugs allegedly on the orders of the state House of Assembly majority leader, Hon. Philip Shuaibu.
Shuaibu, the factional House speaker and four others were subsequently arrested and arraigned before a magistrate court in Benin city on Friday on the matter but were granted bail.
The majority leader had denied his involvement in the battering of Hon. Momoh after the Peoples Democratic Party Chairman, Chief Dan Osi Orbih, had accused him, the state governor, Adams Oshiomhole and the state chapter of the APC of complicity in the near maiming of the Etsako lawmaker.
And on Saturday morning at about 6.30am, the state House of Assembly legislative quarters along Ihama on GRA in Benin City, was attacked by armed youths allegedly sponsored by the PDP who stormed the quarters shooting sporadically and in the process even though no lives were lost but properties worth over millions of naira were destroyed.
An enraged Governor Oshiomole, having been briefed about the attack on the legislative quarters, rushed to the scene of mayhem challenging the state police Commissioner for not responding on time to quell the rampaging youths. Also accused by Oshiomhole of the attack were the PDP Chairman, Dan Orbih, a former Deputy Governor of the state Mr. Lucky Imasuen and a former APC chieftain who is now a PDP member, Pastor Osagie Ize Iyamu.
Reacting to the accusation by Governor Oshiomhole at a press briefing at the weeks back, the PDP State Chairman Dan Orbih explained that all the PDP leaders accused of masterminding the legislative quarters attack are innocent and know nothing about the incident which the party condemned in strong terms. Orbih alleged that rather, the party (PDP) had it on reliable authority that Oshiomhole and the APC have concluded plans to assassinate the leaders whose names have been mentioned in the Saturday attack of the legislative quarters. He said the targeted PDP leaders marked for elimination by Gov. Oshiomhole and the APC include Pastor Osagie Ize Iyamu a former APC chieftain, Mr. Lucky Imasuen a former Deputy Governor of Edo State, himself (Orbih) and others.
The State Party Chairman further maintained that in order to actualize the dastardly act of assassinating the listed PDP leaders, Gov. Adams Oshiomhole has rolled out a war chest and thousands of dollars amounting to about 180 million naira to the APC thugs for the “mission”.
While calling on the State Police Commissioner to take the assassination threat seriously, Orbih warned Oshiomhole to leave politics to politicians and face governance.
On his part, the former secretary to the Edo State government, Pastor Osagie Ize Iyamu chided Governor Oshiomhole who was quick to react to the attack on legislative quarter while he kept mute on the battering of a State lawmaker (Hon Razak Momoh) by the suspected thugs of the APC under the supervision of Hon. Philip Shuaibu.
According to the PDP chieftain “the alleged suspected thugs who attacked the state legislative quarters in any case were friendly since there was no reported case of maiming and injury yet the governor who has returned to sympathize or issue a statement condemning the barbaric act of the APC thugs on Razak Momoh who is lying critically ill in the hospital after he was quick to react and point accusing fingers at his perceived political enemies.
But in a swift reaction, the state publicity secretary of the APC, Godwin Erhahon, came down heavily on Pastor Osagie Ize Iyamu alleging that he is the sponsor and brain behind the PDP mayhem in the state, maintaining that the former Edo SSG was the leader of those the APC publicist described as the second hand members of the PDP. According to Erhahon, ‘Somebody as honorable as Hon. Victor Edos Ebomwonyi who is an aborigine member of the PDP would not take part in such violence, what is happening is that some people believe that they can be able to hijack the party machinery of the PDP after moving from the APC. Because they have been rejected by the PDP and since they are ashamed of returning back to beg, they believe they can achieve that by causing unnecessary confusion. In any case, the aborigine PDP are happy that they have such hatchet men coming from the APC”.