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Friday, September 25, 2020

We’re disappointed by role of political actors in Edo assembly crisis – US

The United States Mission to Nigeria has expressed worry over reports of deteriorating political climate in Edo state and interference by security forces in political matters.

The US, in a statement on Friday, called for free, fair and credible elections where the will of the Nigerians will be reflected in the results.

According to the mission, the US pledges support to Nigeria’s democratic process, saying as long-time friends, it will continue to follow political developments ahead of off-cycle elections in the country.

“The U.S. supports a democratic process where the will of the people is reflected in the results, and does not favour any party or candidate,” it said.

“We are concerned with reports of the deteriorating political climate in Edo and are disappointed with the role played by some political actors in the state.

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“We are especially concerned with allegations of interference by security forces in political matters, which we will continue to monitor closely in the run up to gubernatorial elections in September.

“As we approach the 2020 off-cycle elections in Edo and Ondo, we urge all stakeholders to work toward a free, fair, transparent, and peaceful process.

“We encourage all stakeholders, including INEC, political parties and the security services to continue to improve the electoral process. We look to Nigeria as an important leader on the African continent.”

It added that as a democratic partner of Nigeria, it remained committed to working together to achieve mutual goals of peace and prosperity for the citizens of both our countries.

The crisis at the state house of assembly started when Yekini Idiaye, deputy speaker of the assembly, was removed on Wednesday.

Following his removal, Francis Okiye, the speaker, raised the alarm that there was a plot to “forcefully take over the assembly”.

On Thursday morning, security operatives took over the assembly complex to “forestall any attack on the assembly”, but Okiye alleged that the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) was behind the action of the security operatives.

Some hours later, Victor Edoror, who was removed as deputy speaker in 2018, was elected speaker by 17 lawmakers loyal to Adams Oshiomhole, former governor of the state.

Among the 17 lawmakers were 14 who were not sworn in since they were elected in 2019.

Their seats had been declared vacant amid the power tussle between the members of the assembly loyal to Oshiomhole and those who have the backing of Obaseki.

Obaseki, who is candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the governorship election, has enjoyed the support of the assembly with his loyalists in charge.

But he started losing support of some of the lawmakers in his camp when Idiaye and three of his colleagues endorsed Osagie Ize-Iyamu, candidate of the APC in the election.

The inauguration of the new members and emergence of the new speaker is believed to be part of a grand plot to impeach the governor.

But speaking after his emergence as speaker, Edoror promised that the house under his leadership will focus on its legislative duties and not pursue the impeachment of any member of the executive.

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