It is no longer news that the APC has all the 24 House of assembly seats in the Edo state assembly.
The big news is whether the APC will do the needful by fixing the collapsed power tripod of the state which traditionally saw the 3 senatorial districts equally represented in the government of the state.
By this the APC ought to commit to allowing the position of Speaker of the assembly remain in Edo Central, a zone that traditionally holds the office but have been sidelined for too long by the intrigues of Edo politics.
Of course continuing to ignore the reality of the tripod, it will be a disaster for the party in future elections, like the that of 2020 because it rode on the horse of many promises including restoring the Speakership to the zone to win the 24/24 that the state legislature now connotes.
Having said that it is pertinent to note that there are many very qualified and competent lawmakers from the zone that can wear the Speaker’s shoes.
Some are going to the house for the umpteenth time like Mr Victor Edoroh, Esan Central, Frank Okiye Esan Northeast 1 and Emma Okoduwa, Esan Northeast 2.
The rest lawmakers from this zone are first timers and seriously they ought not to come into reckoning in the scheme of things because in this kind of battle only the best is good enough.
Here we refer to Sunday Ojiezele (Esan South East):
Marcus Onobun (Esan West)
Ephraim Aluebhosele (Igueben).
But if any do emerge in the power play for which the assembly is notorious, it will not be a surprise to many.
All the local government constituencies in Edo Central has produced a Speaker except for Esan Southeast which has only had a deputy Speaker.
As it were Esan Northeast has produced Speakers for the assembly time and again. The list includes Mathew Egbadon and Friday Itulah just like Esan Central which has also produced Speakers in David Iyoha and Victor Edoroh.
Esan West has equally produced a Speaker in Mr Bright Omokhodion like Igueben producing a Speaker in Dr Okonoboh. Esan Southeast has produced a deputy speaker in Festus Ebea.
Hon Okoduwa was minority leader of the assembly when the PDP was in minority in 2011. In the aftermath of the saga that polarized the assembly in 2014, with two parallel legislatures emerging Okoduwa was to dump the PDP and join the APC.
Mr Victor Edoroh has always been in the APC. He has also been Speaker and twice deputy speaker of the assembly before but it was during his reign that disenchanted lawmakers had cause to seize the mantle from Edo Central.
Edoroh lacks the vital ingredients to succeed as Leader of the legislature. Thrice he has held the leadership position and has suffered removal by his own colleagues who obviously do not have much confidence in him.
As speaker from June 2015 to May 2016, after which he was sent packing, the lawmakers said they impeached Edoroh because:
* he invaded the chambers with thugs
*possessed dictatorial tendencies
* of allegations of financial recklessness.
By 2017 he again stepped back to office as deputy speaker with members hoping that they will see changes in the man’s style of leadership but they were disappointed.
The sins for which he lost out as Deputy speaker included:
*misappropriation of funds
*engaging in acts capable of destabilizing the assembly
Essentially Edoroh has a lot of baggage that will not augur well for a focussed and committed legislature critical to the many ideas the Executive has put in place to help bring about the good life for all Edo people.
In all Francis Okiye (Esan North East 1) former PDP Majority Leader in the assembly in 2010, is eminently qualified to assume the function of the speaker. He has minimal luggage. He has swag. He is levelheaded and is accessible.
By all standards Okiye is both a successful businessman and politician who respects himself and commands the respect of both his leaders and followers.
He is better remembered for his role in the drama that saw the PDP losing majority in the assembly leading to the exit of Mr Zakawanu Garuba(PDP Etsako West 1) and the entrance of Mr Bright Omokhodion (Ation Congress, Esan West) as Speaker.
He it was who was suspended along with Mr Blessing Agbebaku but he later parted ways with the party and has been in the APC thereafter.
Okiye has served in the Oshiomhole government as an Aide and is seen as one of the bridge builders in the Edo central zone whose efforts saw to the APC inroad and subsequent victory in the state assembly polls.
The returning lawmakers who maybe interested in the Speakership are:
Chris Okaeben (Oredo West)
Crosby Eribo (Egor)
Henry Okhuarobo (Ikpoba-Okha)
Roland Asoro (Orhionmwon West)
Nosayaba Okunbor (Orhionmwon East)
Sunday Aghedo (Ovia South West)
Micheal Ohio-Ezo (Owan West)
Ganiyu Audu (Etsako West 1)
Kingsley Ugabi (Etsako East).
Emmanuel Agbaje (Akoko-Edo 11)
Ohio-Ezomo, because only a deputy Speakership has also been the lot of his constituency.
The likes of
Osaro Obazee (Oredo East)
Washington Osifo (Uhunmwode)
Ugiagbe Dumez (Ovia North East 1)
Vincent Uwadiae ( Ovia North East 11)
Aliyu Oshiomhole (Etsako West 11).
Yekini Idaiye (Akoko-Edo 11)
Eric Okaka (Owan East)
Oshoma Ahmed (Estako Central) will need to learn the ropes as first timers but they can serve as cannon fodders to oil the wheel of the intrigues that produces the principal officers come June 2019.
The ball is actually in Oshiomhole/Obaseki’s court to call the MPs to order and do the needful which is to go the hallowed chambers in June and elect Frank Okiye as Speaker and give the Edo central people a sense of pride and justify their support for the Obaseki government.
Anything contrary will not be wise.