I apologise to Oshiomhole for any embarrassment the letter I published may have caused him – Ativie

Impeached former Deputy Speaker of the Edo State House of Assembly, Mrs. Elizabeth Ativie, has tendered an apology to the former governor of Edo State, Adams Oshiomhole, over what she described as “any embarrassment that may have caused him”.

The lawmaker representing Uhunmwode Constituency under the All Progressives Congress agreed to step down from being Speaker to become Deputy Speaker during the 2016 general election in Edo State, at a time when the APC needed to hoodwink the Edo Central people that they weren’t being marginalized having been denied their rightful slot as Speaker under the traditional tripodal arrangement.

Ativie allegedly stepped down over a bribe of official vehicles comprising a 2016 Lexus SUV, one Toyota Prado and two Toyota Hilux vans allegedly given to her by the former governor of the state, Adams Oshiomhole.

Mrs Ativie herself published an undenied a letter purportedly written and signed by Adams Oshiomhole as governor which indicated that her stepping down as Speaker was a bribe.

The Ativie Bribe Letter issued by Adams Oshiomhole to Ativie

This letter caused no small stir in the state as many individuals, groups and even  the main opposition party, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) have threatened litigation over the matter.

The personal attorney (lawyer) to Mrs Ativie, Mr. Olayiwola Afolabi, had in a media report (not URHOKPOTA REPORTERS) on Thursday called for “a forensic analysis of the ex-governor’s signature in order to verify its authenticity”.

Mr Afolabi also advocated that the former governor should be charged to court for allegedly deceiving Ativie “into believing that he had the power to give her the vehicles.”

Afolabi Olayiwola, legal practitioner and personal attorney to Hon Elizabeth Ativie

But the controversial lawmaker distanced herself from the statement by her personal lawyer calling for the prosecution of an ex-governor of the state, Mr. Adams Oshiomhole, for denying that he handed over the official cars of the office of the Speaker to her for personal use, which is against the lawful practice, describing the publication by her personal lawyer as shocking, adding she never authorised him to do so.

Ativie had been impeached and suspended as Deputy Speaker for three months on August 14 by 19 members of the House over alleged misconduct.

The House led by its new speaker Alhaji Adjoto had, through its clerk, also directed Ativie to return her official vehicles, comprising a 2016 Lexus SUV, one Toyota Prado and two Toyota Hilux vans.

Alhaji Adjoto, violently installed Speaker of the Edo State House of Assembly

But Ativie replied that she cannot return the vehicles because she has sold some of them and the remaining now belonged to her as Mrs Ativie, not to the Edo State House of Assembly, claiming that the vehicles were given to her for personal use in the published letter by Oshiomhole, for the bribing her to step down for “the peace of the state” when she stepped down as Speaker in June 2016. 

“I never authorised him (Afolabi) to publish such a comment against the leader (Oshiomhole) of my party, the APC in the state and someone who all of us have high regard and respect for. I was shocked to read that in the papers and I want to apologise to my leader for any embarrassment that may have caused him.

“I have been passing through a lot all this while… I have been talking and discussing with party leaders in the state and they are finding a solution to the problem.

“So I was really embarrassed with that publication which tends to pitch me against my leader, Oshiomhole.”

Meanwhile, amid the controversy surrounding the alleged refusal of Ativie to return her official vehicles, the Ministry of Justice has denied receiving any request for legal advice or action on the matter.

Apart from the clerk of the House who directed her to return her official vehicles, the APC Publicity Secretary in the state, Mr. Chris Azebamwan, had also stated that the party was awaiting legal advice on the issue from the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Prof. Yinka Omorogbe, to enable it to take an official position.

However, Omorogbe told newsmen on Thursday that she had not been informed about the ex-governor’s recommendation.

“I have no comment to make. I have not been told about it formally or informally.” Omorogbe said.

On the legal advice sought by the APC, she said, “I actually don’t know anything about what you are saying.”

Investigation by URHOKPOTA REPORTERS however indicated that no fewer than three non governmental organizations (NGOs) have indicated readiness to go to court to challenge the unlawful action by both Oshiomhole and Ativie.

We shall keep you posted on this story as it unfolds.

 


URHOKPOTA REPORTERS was voted Reporter of the Year 2016 Award Winner and is committed to relentless investigative journalism.

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