OBIORA IFOH, with agency report
Another dimension was added to the crisis rocking Edo state House of Assembly, as 12 members of the state lawmakers on Thursday stormed the National Assembly and narrated what they went through in the hand of the state governor, Godwin Obaseki.
The 12 out of the 14 state lawmakers allegedly loyal to the former governor of the state, Adams Oshiomole, were at the National Assembly to state their own side of the crisis to the Ad-hoc committee set up by the leadership of the Senate.
It would be recalled l that the Ad-hoc committee headed by the Senate Deputy Minority Whip, Sabi Abdullahi was on Tuesday in Edo on a fact finding mission to get first hand information on the crisis.
The Ad-hoc Committee, which was reportedly met with the lawmakers loyal to the state governor, Obaseki on Tuesday, told the 12 lawmakers, who were at the National Assembly to state their own side of the issue that their only interest was how to resolve the issue for the benefit of all.
Quoting relevant sections of the Constitution to back what the Senate is doing, The Chairman of the Committee, Abdullahi told the 12 lawmakers that they want to hear their own side.
He said: “Let me assure Nigerians and the good people of Edo State that the Senate is only interested in this matter as related to the Constitution, so that Edo State government can function to deliver good governance to the people of the state. We have no other interest on the issue. We are not going to do what the judiciary is mandated to do.
“We are not into anything, but interested in facts, so that when the 109 senators come out with their resolution, the world will see that we are doing the right thing. We are doing only those things that will promote the happiness of this nation.”
Speaking on behalf of the state lawmakers, Hon. Washington Osa Osifo, explained that they are 14 lawmakers and not 12. He said that the other two took permission to attend to pressing issues.
Laying the foundation of what transpired in the state Assembly, Hon. Osifo, explained that when the 6th Assembly came to an end on the 7th of June, they were expecting the 7th Assembly to kick off immediately, according to the relevant section of the Constitution, but that never happened.
He said that 10 days later, which was on the 17th of June, when they were getting worried, they approached the governor, who told them that he will make the proclamation when it is convenient.
The lawmaker further explained that they have to hold press conference to impress it on the governor why he should make the proclamation and also appeal to relevant minds to prevail on him.
He disclosed that they were not invited for the inauguration of the 7th assembly, which he said took place about 8pm, adding that they made several calls to some of their members and the Clerk, who were part of the inauguration.
He said that it was when pictures of the inauguration were coming out on social media that they discovered that the inauguration had actually taken place.
Osifo added that when they held a press conference on the 18th of June, a day after to condemned the inauguration, the Chief Security Officer (CSO) of the governor led thugs with sophiscated weapons to disrupt the conference, adding that they were detained by the Police, who they thought were there to rescue them.
He further explained that they have to bail themselves after spending more than five hours at the police station, where they were trickisly entertained with sweets and bitter kolas.
The lawmaker explained after the police issue, where they were accused of unlawful assembly, they have been in Abuja for the past one month for the safety of their lives, lamenting that they are tired and want to go home, where they were elected as lawmakers.
Addressing newsmen shortly after the meeting that lasted for about three hours, Senator Abdullahi said that Justice will be served, appealing to all parties involved to exercise restrain and not to fan the ember of crisis.
He warned that if the issue is not properly handled it will snowball into unprecedented avoidable crisis, adding, “we are dealing with sensitive issue.”
Abdullahi had asked the 12 Edo lawmakers if they get any message for the proclamation, to this, the lawmakers said they didn’t get any message nor see advert either from the print or electronic media.
The Senator said: “We will try as much as possible to look at the issue without emotion, we want to look at the issues and get to the bottom and proffer a solution.
Fielding questions from newsmen, Abdullahi said, “ours is to stick to what the Constitution provides for us. The Senate is concerned about this development. The Senate is determined to do justice on this matter. We will come out with resolutions that will guide future occurrence.”
Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has cautioned the leadership of House of Representatives to desist from actions that violate the provisions of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and could trigger a constitutional crisis in Edo state and the nation at large.
The party said the order by the House of Representatives asking the Police and the Department of State Services (DSS) to shut down the Edo State House of Assembly is completely unconstitutional, provocative and has no place in a democratic dispensation.
PDP in a statement issued by National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan states that no section of the 1999 Constitution confers the House of Representatives with the powers to issue orders to a state governor or direct the shut down of a sitting State House of Assembly. Whether in language or action, such is only obtainable in a military system.
The PDP however invites Nigerians to note that section 11 of the 1999 Constitution, upon which the House of Representatives anchored its decision, does not in any way empower the House of Representatives to shut down a functioning state legislature
“Our party cautions the federal legislature to note that such imperial stance against a legislative house; a symbol of the sovereignty of the people, is self-destruct and opens the fundamentals of our nation’s democracy to unwarranted attacks.
“This is particularly as there are already apprehensions across the country that this shutdown order is a prelude to an autocratic journey that the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its dictatorial leadership intend to embark on to complete their round of total state capture.
“The PDP therefore counsels against any arm of government overreaching itself to take actions that undermine our constitution and encourage dictatorial tendencies against our institutions of democracy and the essentials of personal freedom and rights of citizens in our nation.
“Nevertheless, the PDP berates the APC leadership for its inability to manage its avarice and internal strife, which are playing out in Edo state to the extent that it is now dragging our nation into a constitutional crisis.”
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