From Jefferson Ibiwale, Benin
New controversies have broken out over the impeachment of the Deputy Speaker of the Edo State House of Assembly, Festus Ebea, as one of the lawmakers, Abdul-Rasak Momoh, who allegedly signed the impeachment notice along with 15 others has claimed that his signature was forged.
Momoh told newsmen at a press conference in Benin that he did not sign the said impeachment notice, pointing out that his signature could only have been forged.
“I want it known to the whole world and the inspector general of Police how my signature was forged. I’m not surprised by this however, because the people who did this are used to forging documents. As you know, the Majority Leader of the assembly is currently facing forgery charges,” he said.
He said he was with the state chairman of the party, Dan Orbih, and other PDP colleagues during the period he was alleged to have signed the document.
The lawmaker alleged that it was not the first time that his signature would be forged in order to drive his name in the mud.
The PDP chairman, in his comments on the impeachment, said the decision of the APC lawmakers to sit in the Government House was an abnormal act targeted at eroding the principles of separation of power.
“For some time now, we have noticed Governor Oshiomhole lust for power. Before now, we raised the alarm of how he wanted to bring the judiciary under his control. We want to say that he has achieved that goal and now wants to extend his total conquest to the legislative arm of government,” Orbih said.
He stressed that at least two-third majority of the house of 24 was needed to impeach an assembly Speaker or Deputy Speaker and pointed out that the 15 lawmakers who allegedly carried out the impeachment exercise did not meet the minimum requirement.
Meanwhile, the All Progressives Congress, APC, in a statement on Thursday said that at least 13 signatures were required to impeach the Deputy Speaker and that the assembly got more than that, stressing that with the suspension of 4 members including Ebea before his impeachment, only 20 active members legitimately remained.
State chairman of APC, Anslem Ojezua, said that “two-thirds of 20 members cannot by any stretch of imagination be anything above 13”.
“We are embarrassed that the deputy speaker has no sense of history and is so ignorant as to know that the sittings of the House of Assembly used to hold in the Government House before the new complex at the Airport Road was erected,” he added.
He maintained that the old chambers of the Edo State House of Assembly dwells within the precinct of the Government House and that the old assembly building is still a property of the assembly which they can use at any time.