By ANDREW ESSIEN ABUJA
90 elected Councillors on the platform of All Progressive Congress (APC) in Edo state have pleaded the Mai Mala Buni-led Caretaker Committee to intervene in their plight to get their entitlements from the Edo state government.
In what they described as inhumane treatment and abuse of fundamental human right by the various council Chairman in Edo state, they insisted that the directive was premised by Governor Godwin Obaseki over their refusal to decamp to Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Speaking with newsmen Tuesday in Abuja after submitting a protest letter to the APC national secretariat, the group led by Hon. Enwinghare k. Osabuohien of (Ward 2, Egor L.G.A), cried out that Edo state has unfortunately graduated to a dangerous level of exhibiting dangerous level of intolerance for the opposition.
Other Councillors who signed the statement includes: Hon. Kelvin Omo Esemuze, Hon. Sule Becky I, Hon. Ogini Topas, Hon. Enabulele Godfrey, Hon. Ogbeye Evans and Hon. Pst. Mrs. Okpamen Angela, on behalf of All APC Councillors Edo state chapter.
The aggrieved Councillors expressed disappointment on governor Obaseki’s alleged directive that “all political appointees and elected political office holders should resign from APC and join him in PDP neglecting the fact that it falls within the right and decision as elected councilors to the choose the party to belong to, they therefore called on the attention of the APC authorities to call the Gov. Obaseki to order.”
Part of the statement reads, “Today, the world should know that as elected councilors numbering over 90, we have not been paid our salaries since May 2020. Salaries and wages of the legislature are not a gift from the executive arm of government. All rights and privileges and other entitlements have been stopped on the directive of the Governor because of our democratic choice and right.”
The Councillors’ spokesman said, ”Our only offense is that we refused to decamp with the Governor to the PDP even though in our assessment of his performance, we found no moral justification on which we should abandon the party that provided us platform to get elected. Across the state, there have been illegal suspension of elected and appointed government officials in sixteen 16 out of eighteen 18 local government areas.
“A classic case is that which transpired in Uhunmwode L.G Legislative council with 10 Councilors, Sanctioned by the Governor, the only 3 PDP councillors in the house sat on the 23rd of June 2020 to suspend 7 APC house members. The same has happened in Ovia South West, Egor, Etsako East, Akoko Edo and Esan South Local Government Area Legislative Council to mention but a few.
“Currently in Edo State, the entire legislative arm of govt. is completely dysfunctional. The state house of assembly have not been inaugurated since 2019 while the entire legislative arm of the local government councils have been undermined with the illegal suspension of over 90 elected councillors under the supervision of Governor Obaseki.
“The illegal indefinite suspension, stoppage of salaries, allowances, benefits, overhead and the denial of over 100 communities we represent of meaningful development on the basis of our political party affiliation is alien to the public our emerging democracy. As elected councilors, we can only be validly removed from office by a recall as any other means will amount to a breach of section 110(a) and (b) of the 1999 constitution and section 22 of the local government laws of Edo state 2000 as amended.
“We are therefore calling the President and Commander in Chief of the Armed forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. President Muhammadu Buhari., the Senate President and the House of Representatives to rise up in condemnation of this tyranny, inhuman treatment, victimization and undemocratic actions by the Edo state government and to urge to urge the government of Edo state as a matter of urgency to allow the councillors elected of the platform of APC to resume their legitimate duties in service to their people, As this will save the Nation a global embarrassment it is already bringing.”