Edo State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Chairman Tony Azegbiemi has urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct a by-election to fill 14 seats in the House of Assembly.
The 14 seats, occupied by All Progressives Congress (APC) lawmakers, were declared vacant last December by the factional Speaker Francis Okiye, a loyalist of Governor Godwin Obaseki.
Okiye became Speaker during the controversial inauguration on June 17, 2019.
Azegbiemi warned yesterday in Benin, the state capital, hinted that the PDP would formally write to INEC to conduct the by-election to ensure that the constituents of the 14 lawmakers are not disenfranchised.
He said: “We are very worried because about a million people have lost their voices in Edo State House of Assembly. Their voices are not being heard; nobody is talking about them and nobody is representing their interests.”
The Speaker of the All Progressives Congress (APC) faction comprising 17 members in the 24-member House of Assembly, Victor Edoror, was sworn in last August 6.
But he could not be reached last night for his reaction.
An APC lawmaker, Washington Osifo, who is also a former Education Commissioner, had said: “Declaring our seats vacant is a joke. The matter is before a court of competent jurisdiction. When a matter is before the court, such action is prejudice.
“We are challenging the illegal inauguration of the Assembly. Anything put on nothing can stand.”
The seven PDP lawmakers hold plenary inside the Government House in Benin, while the 17 APC legislators regularly sit at an undisclosed location in the state capital also.
This followed August 6, 2020, heaping of tipper loads of granite and sand at the main entrance to the House of Assembly and removal of the roof sheets of the complex “for renovation”, according to Obaseki.