The House of Representatives yesterday gave Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki seven days to issue a fresh proclamation for the House of Assembly’s inauguration to avoid a takeover.
But Obaseki dismissed the threat, saying he has already performed his constitutional duty.
The assembly also rejected the ultimatum. It said it had since been inaugurated following the governor’s proclamation order.
The representatives gave Obaseki three conditions for the resolution of the assembly’s dispute. The dispute arose following its inauguration on June 17, with nine of the 24 members in attendance.
The lawmakers also recommended that Inspector-General (IG) Mohammed Adamu and Department of State Services (DSS) Director-General Yusuf Magaji Bichi should shut down the assembly and provide security to allay further fear of intimidation and threat as alleged by some members-elect.
The conditions, contained in the report of the Abdulrasak Namdas-led committee on Edo Assembly crisis are:
- that Governor Obaseki, in the interest of peaceful coexistence of the state, should issue a fresh Proclamation within one week in line with section 105(3) of the 1999 Constitution as amended, stating the date and venue and published in any national daily and television station.
- that all actions taken by the 7thAssembly members should be declared null and void pending proper inauguration.
- that members of the Assembly, both that have been inaugurated and those who have not been inaugurated should dissolve their factions in the interest of peace and stability of the House, with a view to moving the state forward.
The representatives held that where the recommendations are not complied with “the National Assembly should invoke the provisions of Section 11(4) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) to take over the State House of Assembly until the situation normalises.”
Speaking when he received the Senate Committee on the crisis in Benin, Obaseki blamed the problem on what he called the failure of the All Progressives Congress (APC) leadership to “properly investigate the issues”.
Explaining why only four members of the committee were in the state, its Chairman, Senator Aliyu Abdullahi, said the other members stayed back because of yesterday’s screening of the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN)-nominee.
Obaseki said the crisis would not have degenerated if the APC leadership of the APC had acted when the matter started.
He said he had performed his constitutional duty by issuing a proclamation letter for the assembly’s inauguration, adding that the Clerk of the House undertook the processes as deemed fit.
The governor said: “When people arbitrarily make up their minds because of some predetermined outcomes and make statements and conduct themselves, this is what it leads to. I issued a proclamation. Consultations were held before the proclamation was issued. Various party organs met before decisions were reached. As far as I am concerned, I abided by the Constitution and issued a proclamation. I believe in separation of powers.
“Whatever the outcome, we expected that if a higher authority were concerned about the fate of this state, they would have called to see how to resolve the issue but that wasn’t done. The matter has moved to the court and all parties are in court. I have done by own bit. Within the legislature, there are issues and they have gone to the judiciary and the Constitution provides for clear separation of powers.
“We have evidence that people are under pressure. Look at this matter in the interest of our country and in the defence of our democracy.”
Abdullahi said the Senate was concerned about restoring peace and order as provided for in the Constitution.
He said: “The civility of Edo people is not in doubt. Edo State has a long history of parliamentary civility. I think everybody who loves this state will want to ensure that nothing short of that prevails.
“I want to assure you that we will do what the Constitution allows us to do. The House of Representatives Committee was here and we are here because it is a bicameral legislature.
“Ours is to articulate and prepare the facts before colleagues. I know that the 109 senators will do justice to any matter before them.
“I assure you that we are out for the good of the state and its people.”