“You are on your own” – Frank Okiye tells Obaseki
…denies leaving the APC with the embattled Governor
…insists Assembly members don’t run a joint ticket with Governor
Frank Okiye, a lawmaker representing Esan North-East personally installed as Speaker of Edo Assembly by Governor Godwin Obaseki in a sham inauguration ceremony, has denied quitting the All Progressives Congress alongside the embattled governor who has left the state again for Abuja where he is meeting with PDP leaders to perfect his defection.
Frank Okiye’s denial is an indication of his loss of faith in the governor’s new political direction and growing concerns on Obaseki’s lack of consultation, brash decisions, and poor treatment of allies who put their political survival on the line for his agenda.
When asked by journalists if he would be exiting the APC in solidarity with the Governor, Okiye said: “Members of the Assembly are not running a joint ticket with the governor and within the constitutional allowance, you know that the governor has the right to move from one party to another.”
“In this circumstance, I can speak for myself that as a Speaker, I have not been formally communicated that the governor has moved from the party (APC). So, the issue about who is going with the governor or not is not being discussed.”
Though he tried to demur, sources close to the lawmaker said he has grown tired of the drawn-out political crisis in the state caused by the Governor and regret his deal with Obaseki that made him an impotent Speaker starved of funds, denied independence, and reduced to a laughing stock amongst his colleagues.
Huge cracks appeared in the relationship between Frank Okiye and Godwin Obaseki months ago when the governor refused to fulfill promises he made to the lawmakers in exchange for their participation in the sham inauguration.
When Okiye tried to broker a meeting between all parties including the Governor, he, alongside the other lawmakers, were reportedly kept in the Governor’s reception for hours before Tijani Nwadei, Obaseki’s Executive Assistant, rudely told them to return to their homes because the Governor had changed his mind about meeting with them.
Godwin Obaseki also reportedly treated the Assembly with contempt. He constantly announced to members that they derive their legitimacy from him (in reference to the sham inauguration he engineered) and refused to honor processes that would facilitate oversight functions that is a core mandate of the legislative arm of government.
The Governor reportedly submitted the state’s annual budget without costing or details and compelled the Assembly to provide assent. The document was later edited in the Government House with the introduction of huge sums and strange projects rumored to be money diversion channels for the governor’s corrupt plan to fund his political ambition with state funds. Members of the Assembly learned of the changes in media reports.