In a dramatic twist, Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole, on Tuesday suspended the Chairman of Etsako West Local Government Area, Alhassan Mohammed, for two months, barely ten minutes after he was sworn in as Chairman of the area.
Oshiomhole explained that the suspension followed controversies surrounding the death of the former Chairman of the area, Alhaji Hassan Kadiri, who died last Friday, the same day a protest was organised against him (Kadiri) over his ill health.
He also directed the new Vice Chairman of the local government, Busari Yusuf, to act as the interim Chairman, pending the outcome of a panel of enquiry set up to investigate the allegations of complicity against Mohammed.
While condemning the protests, Oshiomhole said, “I am informed that the purpose of this protest was that Hassan, on his sick bed, should be relieved of his duties as Chairman, so that the Vice Chairman could take over his job. I do not think human beings should play God.
“So for me, it is absolutely unacceptable that anyone will be so desperate as to instigate another to protest against a man that is bedridden and admitted in the hospital fighting for his life. Our jobs are worthless without life and all of us have our dates to depart this planet earth.
“I do not have all the facts as to whom and who are responsible for these protests but I know there was a protest that could have easily destabilised the entire local government with serious implications for community relations.
“The name of the former vice chairman, who is now the chairman, has been mentioned by several persons as being responsible for financing and instigating students who are supposed to be on vacation to come back to carry out those protests in order to force the resignation or the removal of the chairman that was bedridden.
The governor further ordered an investigation into the allegations and urged other members of the local government council to avoid acts capable of inciting people into violence that could lead to the loss of lives of property.
He added, “As a matter of conscience therefore, I have decided that these allegations have to be investigated and under the Local Government Amendment Acts; while these investigations are going on, the chairman has to be suspended. I have served him his suspension letter; he stands suspended with immediate effect and I will be announcing a commission of enquiry that will investigate all the issues that led to that protest.
“Until then, depending on the findings of the Committee, the Vice Chairman that has just been sworn in will act as the Chairman of Etsako West Local Government Area in accordance with the Local Government Amended Act. I have acted in good faith and I believe that our people in Etsako West should not doubt my sincerity of purpose.
“I have a duty to maintain peace in every part of the state and this action is meant to show that this government will not reward those who wish ill for others. We should be our brother’s keepers.”