Crisis Rocks Edo Assembly Over Alleged Delay In Official Cars, Residential Quarters Delivery To Members.
BENIN – Alleged delay in the delivery of official vehicles and renovated residential quarters to members of the 8th Assembly of the Edo State House of Assembly is causing crisis of confidence and distrust between the leadership and majority of members of the house.
The members were also said to be very angry for shuddering their hotel accommodation expenses individually following failure or refusal of the house leadership to foot the bills from the assembly budget.
Reports had it that before the expiration of the 7th Assembly led by Rt. Hon. Marcus Onobun, the sum of N1.5 billion was approved for the procurement of 25 brand new vehicles for the members of the incoming 8th Assembly and the Chief Judge of the State.
It was learnt, however, that five months into the tenure of the 8th Assembly members have not received the new official vehicles and more annoying, according to some angry members, is the report that the Governor has resorted to buying refurbished cars despite the money allegedly collected to purchase new cars.
This was said to have led to the crisis of confidence and distrust presently rocking the assembly as members were said to be openly confronting the leadership of the house, particularly the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Blessing Agbebaku over his lack of courage to meet the governor to find out the cause of the delay in the purchase of the cars and renovation of the residential quarters.
It was gathered that following these delays, the Speaker, Blessing Agbebaku in the spirit of togetherness caused his co-law-makers to write and sign a letter to the Governor to demand for the release of the official cars and the handing over of the renovated official quarters, haven received information that the state government has approved and released fund for the two projects.
It was however learnt that majority of the members are now accusing the Speaker of betrayal not only for refusing to submit the demand letter to the Governor but denied the existence of the letter in a Press Conference he was said to have addressed.
According to some of the members who spoke to journalists, “we all agreed to sign the letter, which indeed was the idea of the Speaker, which he was to deliver to the Governor.
“We are so pained to note that the Speaker threw us under the carpet by denying the existence of the letter and he is now acting as the Commissioner of Information or the Spokesman of the Executive with his denial in the press conference he addressed.
“Our angers came to a climax last week when we discovered that some of the Pajero cars so far delivered by the State Governor for the members were actually refurbished cars.
“We also discovered that the delay in delivery was actually because they were sourcing for fairly used cars all over the world which has nothing to do with any change in foreign exchange as claimed by the Speaker in his Press Conference.
“These are vehicles that could actually be purchased in Nigeria with the Government making a phone call to the Distributors of the cars in Nigeria.
“The question we are asking is why will the Governor collect money for new cars and turn around to be buying refurbished Pajero as against even the Prado Jeeps penciled down to be purchased?they alleged.
Also causing anxieties to the angry members of the House is the problem of accommodation, as majority of them are currently staying in the hotels that they pay for by themselves because the members residential quarters were not ready.
The Speaker, Rt Hon. Blessing Agbebaku while replying to all the allegations said there is no rift between governor Godwin Obaseki and members of the state house of assembly contrary to speculations in public domain.
Agbebaku made the disclosure shortly after he inspected the ongoing renovation work at the legislative quarters in Benin.
According to him, “I want to let you all know that we are all working in harmony with the state government led by Gov. Godwin Obaseki, the house have no problem with the governor, he is doing well”.
Speaking on the ongoing renovation work at the legislative quarters, Agbebaku said he was satisfied at the pace of work, adding that, the governor had just paid the second tranche of the contract sum to the contractor handing the project and before we came on board, governor had awarded the renovation contract.
“This legislative quarters is housing almost 30 blocks of housing units. It was awarded to four contractors and the job is going on smoothly and before the end of November, members will move into their apartments,” he added.
The speaker also disclosed the cars purchased for the lawmakers by the governor have started arriving government house adding that, about 14 cars have arrived.
” The governor is doing well and he is trying to ensure even distribution of the state scarce resources, the assembly is not the only sector that needs the attention of the governor, there are other areas,”.
“We commend the governor’s developmental stride in the state. The governor is ensuring that all adjoining roads are fixed to decongest the major roads”.
The Speaker added that the house had set up an adhoc committee to monitor all government projects and the members were satisfied with what they saw on ground.
“So we are working in harmony with the state government and we can tell you that the governor is doing very well and will finish strong”, Agbebaku declared.