A fresh crisis may be brewing in the Edo State House of Assembly as the impeached Deputy Speaker, Mrs. Elizabeth Ativie, has held on to the cars, which the House directed her to return to new principal officers, claiming that the cars were given to her as gifts by a former governor, Adams Oshiomhole.
The member representing Igueben constituency, Dr. Justin Okonoboh, and Ativie were on Monday impeached by 19 out of the 24 members of the House. The former Majority Leader, Mr. Foly Ogedengbe, was also removed. He was accused of gross misconduct, incompetence and greed.
After taking over, the new Speaker, Mr. Kabiru Adjoto, directed the Clerk of the House, Mr. James Omoataman, to retrieve the vehicles and other official items with the impeached principal officers before the close of work on Tuesday.
The clerk in a letter of reminder to Ativie, dated August 16, 2017, directed Ativie to return the official vehicles and hand over the keys to him.
But Ativie, who represents Uhunmwonde Constituency and the only female member of the House, claimed the vehicles, comprising a 2016 Lexus jeep, one Prado jeep and two Hilux vans, were officially given to her for personal use by Oshiomhole.
The lawmaker, in a letter dated August 16 and signed by her lawyer, Mr. Olayiwola Afolabi, and addressed to the clerk of the House, stated that Oshiomhole had in a letter he personally signed on June 19, 2016, given the vehicles to her in acknowledgement of the sacrifices she was expected to make for the peace, security and well-being of the state.
She stated that Adjoto, who was then the Chief Whip, led the delegation of the House to the executive arm of government where the decision to give her the vehicles as the ex-Speaker was taken and implemented.
“After the vehicles were given, our client went to the licence office with the said letter and registered the vehicles in her name. In the exercise of her bona fide right of ownership, our client has sold one of the vehicles (Lexus jeep, 2016 model),” Ativie’s lawyer said in the letter.
Efforts by our correspondent to reach the Speaker for comment were unsuccessful as calls to his mobile number indicated that he could not be reached.
Adjoto had yet to reply a text message sent to him.
The former governor could not also be reached for his reaction.