Former Edo State governor, Adams Oshiomhole has denied that he gave the official vehicles attached to the impeached Deputy Speaker, Elizabeth Ativie, for her personal use.
In an interview with journalists in Iyamoh, Etsako West Local Government Area of the state, the former governor advised Ativie to return the vehicles or face prosecution.
Ativie was impeached alongside the former Speaker of the house for alleged misconduct and was directed by the new Speaker to turn all official cars in their possession.
But Ativie said the vehicles were given to her by the ex-governor for her personal use due to the sacrifice she made for the peace of the state.
Oshiomhole however said, “Ativie has to return those vehicles and I believe that the government, whether the executive or legislative branch, has to follow the legal procedures to recover those vehicles, and if she has privatised them, charge her for stealing. I had a meeting, incidentally, with the members of the House few days after the change (impeachment) and I pointedly reminded her that she had to return those vehicles.
“You will not forget in a hurry that (for) everything that happens in the state, the governor is the person that everybody looks at, whether he knows about it or not. Even those who know that the governor does not know, it is very convenient to just blame him for everything.
“At the eve of the governorship election, the House had reasons to make a change which offset what we commonly refer to as the tripod. But once they made the change, the thing was either she resigned when the House realised that they agreed with the party that we needed to make an adjustment or they impeached the Speaker.
“And they were not ready to impeach her because they said it would not be fair to impeach her, though there were arguments that, after all, she was married to an Esan (Edo Central) man and, therefore, by marriage, she is Esan. But again you know that in Nigeria, it depends on what suits you. One of the concerns she raised was that now that she had the vehicles of the Speaker, if she had to resign and be made a Deputy Speaker, she would not be entitled to those four vehicles.”
“How does that amount to asset transfer? I am not in a position to give out government assets. The car that Governor (Godwin) Obaseki is using now, incidentally, was one of my official cars. The one he is using in Abuja is the one I handed over. They are not my property. It is true that governors have powers but those powers are derived from law; the limits of those powers are also well-specified in law,” he added.
On the letter alleged to have been personally signed by him to transfer the vehicles to the suspended lawmaker, the ex-governor stated, “If it is anything done by me, I have told you what I did and I think it is very straightforward. First is that I never wrote her a letter donating government cars to her. No. I couldn’t have; it doesn’t make sense. I don’t even have such powers, even if I wish to and if I am going to donate government cars, I cannot donate cars belonging to the Edo State House of Assembly.”