The political crisis in the Edo state has degenerated further with the state House of Assembly declaring vacant the seats of 12 lawmakers-elect yet to be inaugurated.
All the 24 state legislators in Edo are members of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
The deputy speaker of the assembly, Yekini Idiaye, told journalists in Benin that the resolution to declare the seats vacant was reached during plenary on Wednesday.
The seats declared vacant are Etsako West I, Etsako West II, Owan East, Owan West, Etsako Central, Etsako East and Esan Central.
Others are Uhunmwonde, Oredo East, Oredo West, Egor, Ovia North East I, Ovia North East II and Ovia South-west I.
Mr Idiaye said the members representing Oredo East and Owan East state constituencies, who were sworn-in, failed to meet the mandatory 181-day sitting requirement for a member in a calendar year.
Mr Idiaye said the other affected members failed to present themselves for the inauguration.
“Their constituents have been complaining and have come to us that they want their voices and concerns to be heard at the House. So, people who are willing to provide quality representation have to be elected to bring the matters of the distraught constituents to the floor for debate and legislation, where necessary,” he said.
The 12 lawmakers were among the 15 excluded from the controversial inauguration of the state assembly in June because of the power-tussle between the national chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole, and the Edo governor, Godwin Obaseki.
Nine out of 24 lawmakers met at night to inaugurate the assembly and elect a speaker, Frank Okiye.
Their exclusion of the others, PREMIUM TIMES learnt, was to prevent Mr Oshiomhole’s loyalists from taking control of the state legislature.
The 12 lawmakers-elect have been since fled to Abuja for fear of their safety.
One of the affected lawmakers-elect, Washington Osifo, accused Mr Obaseki of “bringing back gangsterism” into the state politics.
“I have told people, this is not the governor I used to know,” Mr Osifo, who was elected to represent Uhunmwode State Constituency, told PREMIUM TIMES, in July.
“The governor I used to know when he came (into power) was against any form of gangsterism.
“But because he is now gunning for a second term, all those things he came out to condemn, he is now the one welcoming them – arrogance, gangsterism – he has brought them back into the system,” Mr Osifo said.