The siege on the Anthony Enahoro House of Assembly Complex in Edo State continued on Friday with women of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and with people believed to be party stalwarts taking over the premises and environs. While many of the PDP women who had earlier in the day staged a solidarity protest march to the Assembly and the state Government House were seen milling around the front of the complex with many of them sitting in the garden, scores of stalwarts occupied the main building.
When the magazine visited the House around 10.30 am, the entrance gate was still covered with granites tipped there on Thursday by agents of the state government to prevent the group of 17 members of the House from accessing the chambers to conduct plenary. It was business unusual opposite the House as petty traders displayed their wares near the gate while a live musical band mounted by the side of the gate blared music while some youths brandishing placards denouncing the alleged forceful take-over of the legislature, danced. Like an army of occupation, suspected political thugs were sighted right at the entrance to the hallowed chambers, around the car park inside the premises, and behind the buildings. Some of them also took positions on the first and second floors of the main building. They were seen smoking marijuana and other weeds. The entire premises were not only littered with used take-away packs and empty water cans, stench oozed from indiscriminate defecation and urination in open places. It was gathered that they had remained in the premises all through the night to ensure that no “intruder” came in.
Apart from the PDP women drawn from the seven local government areas of Edo South senatorial district, several market women were also mobilized to join the solidarity protest and sit-in at the House of Assembly. The presence of some juju priestesses particularly attracted attention of everyone as they thronged the King’s Square location of the Assembly complex in significant numbers.
Addressing journalists at the front gate of the House, Edo South Senatorial Leader, Uwa Osunbor said they chose to come out en-masse to throw their weight behind the incumbent governor in order to complete the projects he had already started. Osunbor said their coming out in their numbers was to let the citizens of the state know that they were solidly behind Obaseki and were willing to vote him and Philip Shaibu back into office in the September 19 governorship election in the state. Condemning the impeachment of the factional House of Assembly Speaker, Frank Okiye, Osunbor insisted that Frank Okiye remained the only speaker known to the people of the state.
“We have already spoken to the people of Edo State. We are taking our messages to the street, we are taking them to the villages; we are taking them everywhere. We have one Speaker in the Edo State House of Assembly and that is Rt. Hon. Frank Okiye. That is our only Speaker and we are ready on September 19 to vote Godwin Obaseki and Philip Shaibu again for continuity in Edo State”, Osunbor said.
Speaking to the magazine on their mission to the House, Blackie Omoregie who is the leader of Market Women Association said “We support any government in power. The same way we supported Comrade Oshiomhole that is why we are here too to pledge our support”. Asked in what ways the governor had alleviated their plight especially during the spate of market fires in the state capital, Omoregie said “He said he will help them; the affected traders. They have been collecting their names so that they want to assist them”.
A juju priestess who led traditional worshippers to the House, Princess Imasemwenbor Inibokun, spiritual leader of Ekutetebite Negwogho group, described herself as a trado-medical doctor. According to Inibokun, “I am an herbalist. I’m here in respect of Obaseki. I need Obaseki to come for the other four years so that it should be making eight years because all what he’s doing, I appreciate it. I myself where I live, before there was no road, but now, it is a town. To come to Okavbe village where my house is, where my temple is, where my trado-medical herbal home is, is very difficult. But since Obaseki started constructing our road, I am receiving many customers; I am receiving many strangers and many people that are looking for solution. For that reason, I like Obaseki.
“And secondly, this light of a thing he’s bringing to us, I like it because there is nobody that likes darkness. I myself, I am “jolly-jolly” woman, undermining that I am a trado-medical person. I like watching television and watching everything that is going on in the world. But without light you cannot see it. Today, fuel, tomorrow fuel; I am tired of buying fuel. As far as he’s bringing us light, I like Obaseki. Obaseki must come again”. She placed curses on those “who want to hinder Obaseki from coming back”.