By Abavo Kingsley, Benin


Rights Activist, Elohor Patrick addressing journalists at the Press Center, Benin

Human rights activist and founder, One Love Foundation, Patrick Eholor, on Wednesday, June 12, led a peaceful protest against delay in the inauguration of the 7th Edo State House of Assembly.

Eholor tackled the governor, Godwin Obaseki for allegedly holding back the transmission of a Proclamation Letter to the Clerk of the House; an instrument required to enable inauguration of a new Assembly after every general election as provided by the Constitution.

Addressing journalists at the NUJ Secretariat on Reservation Road, Benin, Eholor said the protest was to draw public attention to the prevailing situation he termed; ugly and unacceptable in a democracy.

It is pathetic that out of the 36 states of the federation, Edo is among the few states whose house of assembly has not been inaugurated thereby preventing the spread of dividends of democracy to the people who voted them into power, he lamented.

“We are gathered here today for a very peaceful protest to remind the governor of Edo State that the citizens deserve better.

“We are aware that most of the states have inaugurated the house of assembly members. This is our seventh house; we are hoping that as of now, he would have transmitted the required proclamation letter to the clerk of the house of assembly, so that they can carry out the duty and functionality of democracy. So that the dividend of democracy can get to the people who voted them into power.”

He adviced the governor, to go  settle whatever  political differences  he may be having with his party and not to use the people of the state to settle scores adding that they cannot continue to tolerate such setback.

“We cannot continue to suffer this pain. It is very clear in the 1999 Constitution, section 105, and subsection 3.

“I am not a lawyer but I read it very clearly that when election is conducted, and the people have been duly elected, the governor has the responsibility to transmit to the clerk of the house of assembly a letter of proclamation so that those elected can be sworn in to continue their service to the people.

“The governor is a technocrat, he is very well read. We are appealing to his conscience that no matter what is going on within him or within the party or any other political party; he should do the needful and respect the right of those who voted for him and those who voted for the house of assembly members.”

The 7th Edo House of Assembly was slated to be inaugurated last Monday, 10 June, 2019.

But surprisingly, according to speculation, on the order of the governor the combined security operatives of the Nigeria Security Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), and police seized the Parliament complex and prevented everyone who turned up for the proposed event from entering.

The fierce looking armed security operatives turned away workers, the lawmakers that were supposed to be inaugurated into office, and their supporters without any explanation.

But reliable inside sources disclosed that they were acting on order from above.

Also, it was said that the development could not be unconnected with the internal battle in the ruling party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) for and against Obaseki having the ticket to run for a second term come 2020.