Benin – Crisis appears to be stalking the Edo State House of Assembly over Governor Godwin Obaseki’s failure to issue a letter of proclamation to enable the House reconvene.
Newly elected members on Monday evening appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari and the Oba of Benin, Ewuare II, to impress on Governor Obaseki to initiate the proclamation in order to avoid a political impasse in the state.
Washington Osifo, member representing Uhunmwode constituency, made the appeal on behalf of the 19 lawmakers during a press briefing at the NUJ Press Centre in Benin.
According to him, “We urge all well-meaning individuals, including our well-respected Royal Father, His Majesty, Oba Ewuare II, the Oba of Benin; His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; the leadership of our party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), and the leadership of the National Assembly to prevail on Mr. Godwin Obaseki, governor of Edo State, to immediately issue the letter of proclamation to enable the Edo State House of Assembly to commence sitting so as to avoid serious constitutional crisis.”
Osifo said the deliberate attempt by the governor not to have inaugurated the House when other states of the federation had done theirs amounted to usurping the powers of the legislators.
“And whereas all other states of the federation of Nigeria have inaugurated their Houses of Assembly, Governor Godwin Obaseki has deliberately refused to allow the House of Assembly to function, thus usurping the powers of the legislators.”
He further said the governor could not impose his choice candidates on the members of the House, rather, he could only lobby just as it was done at the National Assembly.
“It is also common knowledge that the governor, no matter how powerful, cannot impose individuals either as speaker or deputy speaker on the legislators.
“At best, he can only lobby for his preferred candidates as was recently witnessed at the National Assembly,” he said.
He called on the governor of the state to follow the constitution to avoid a vacuum.
Meanwhile, following the failure or refusal of Governor Obaseki to issue a proclamation letter for the inauguration of the Edo State House of Assembly, the state’s branch of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has threatened to drag the governor to court for allegedly breaching the constitution.
Chief Dan Osi Orbih, Edo State Chairman of the PDP, in a statement last night in Benin, stated that what Governor Obaseki was indulging in was an impeachable offence.
He said the leadership of the party had directed its legal team to proceed to court and seek an order of mandamus on Obaseki to proclaim the 24 APC-member House of Assembly as enunciated in section 105 (3) of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).
It noted that, as a responsible political party, it could not gloss over the obvious drift to tyranny and impending catastrophe being orchestrated by the governor and his party.
“We, as a responsible political party, cannot ignore the obvious drift to tyranny and impending catastrophe being orchestrated by the governor and his party,” the PDP said.
According to Chief Orbih, the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria was very clear on the three arms of government, their roles, and responsibilities.
“What is playing out today in Edo State is that the executive arm led by Governor Godwin Obaseki has clearly and illegally stopped the legislature from performing its constitutional role by refusing to send the official proclamation letter to the Clerk of the House for the inauguration of the 7th Assembly.
“By his unconstitutional act, he has assumed the character of a sole administrator. Edo PDP is uncomfortable with this unfortunate development.
“We knew the inherent dangers of the APC magical claim of 24 over 24. As a party, we want it on record that this unpleasant development has nothing to do with Edo PDP but a product of greed and inordinate ambition of a non-performing government who is afraid of its shadows.
“As at 2pm, today, June 17, 2019, Governor Obaseki has not given any official reason for his impeachable action.
“Edo PDP condemns this assault on our democracy and calls on all lovers of democracy to call Governor Obaseki to order. Don’t gamble with the destiny of our state because of internal party disagreement and intrigues.
“You will recall that Governor Obaseki and his sycophants rejoiced over the 24/24 mathematical contraption or manipulation of the state Assembly elections.
“Isn’t it contradictory and ironic that a government and party that claimed this Pyrrhic victory cannot proclaim its Assembly?
“It’s indeed sad to observe that Edo State under the APC is now last in everything, including the proclamation of the state Assembly.
“When robbers share their loot, there is always disagreement. We urge the governor to do the needful and transmit the letter of proclamation to the clerk without further delay,” the PDP stated.
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