Posted by Nelson Dafe, Benin City | 25 October 2014 | 3,586 times
When Edo State House of Assembly Speaker Uyi Igbe and Majority Leader Phillip Shaibu returned from Abuja, where they were detained for questioning over forgery allegations, they received a tumultuous welcome from a sea of admirers.
The welcomers, in their thousands, danced and sang songs of praises for their beloved politicians, who they believe were victims of political persecution over their refusal to sell out their party and the State Governor Adams Oshiomhole to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in a game of dirty politics which has since plunged the Edo legislature into serious crisis.
A source told News Express that a large amount of money was offered to the duo to join the train of All Progressives Congress (APC) legislators moving over to the PDP with the aim of eventually impeaching Governor Oshiomhole.
“Speaker Uyi Igbe and Phillip Shaibu were offered unbelievably huge amount of money and also juicy political appointments to sell out. It demanded a high sense of integrity for them to turn down the surreptitious offers they got from the opposition to decamp. They are real heroes in a sense for toeing the path of honor and loyalty to their party and their ideals. In fact, they saved (Governor Adams) Oshiomhole because if they had decamped that would have been the end of his governorship,” the source said.
Governor Oshiomhole himself celebrated the courage of the assemblymen who stood by his party while alleging that a top politician in the state, Pastor Ize Iyamu, who decamped from the APC some months ago, was behind plans to turn the Edo House of Assembly into PDP’s control.
“Ize-Iyamu,” the governor said during a recent APC rally in the state capital, Benin City, “went to collect money with a promise that he would take over the House of Assembly and he failed. He got some (Assemblymen) and he got stuck. Contrary to their calculations we (APC) have shown that we are doggedly in charge.”
A frontline Benin City lawyer, Christopher Eguasa, saluted the loyalty of Speaker Igbe in a chat with News Express.
“I celebrate Uyi Igbe. In fact, I consider his constituency lucky to have such a worthy representative. If not for him they would have impeached the governor over nothing,” Eguasa said.
The attorney-at-law criticised the Economic and Financial Crimes Commissione (EFCC) over what he feels was the questionable detention of the Speaker and Majority Leader over a case of suspected signature falsification. Eguasa argued that it was supposed to be a police matter and not one for the financial crimes body.
“If you feel your signature has been forged all you need to do is to write a petition to the police. This shows the EFCC don’t know what they are doing and that’s why they end up failing in the court,” Eguasa noted.
It is not clear yet, as at the time of filing this report, whether the EFCC are going to bring any formal charges against Speaker Igbe and Majority Leader Shaibu.
•Photo shows Edo House of Assembly Speaker Uyi Igbe (with microphone) addressing a crowd of supporters who trooped out to welcome him from EFCC detention. Second to his left is Majority Leader Phillip Shaibu.
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