BY FESTUS OBOH, ABUJA
The planned takeover of Edo State House of Assembly by the National Assembly, in particular, the Federal House of Representatives came to abrupt end this Tuesday, July 9, 2019, when Members of the ‘Green Chambers’ unanimously rejected and turned down the Greek gift that came in form of a motion moved by three members from Edo State, Messrs Julius Ihonvbere, Peter Akpatason and Johnson Oghuma.
Ihonvbere who read the motion on behalf of the two other Federal Legislators from Edo North prayed, “…that the National Assembly, in line with the provisions of Section 11 (4) of the Constitution, take over the affairs of Edo State House of Assembly and ensure the proper inauguration of the House, with the Inspector-General of Police and the Director-General, State Security Services, providing the necessary security for the 24 members-elect to be sworn in as expected and required by the Law.”
They also pleaded to members to take over the affairs of the Assembly pending the resolution of the crisis. Ihonvbere expressed worry over the improper inauguration of the 7th Edo State House of Assembly on June 17, 2019 and claimed that nine out of the 24 elected members were sworn-in without the knowledge of the other 15 members-elect.
The first-timer lawmaker said that the governor’s proclamation was not made in pursuant of the provisions of the 1999 Constitution. He told his colleagues that section 105, sub-section 3 directs the State Governor to issue a proclamation to facilitate the inauguration of the House of Assembly to enable it commence legislative business to avoid constitutional crisis.
Ihonvbere also accused the Clerk of the House of secretly inaugurating the nine members-elect at about 9.30 p.m. which he said was outside the time of legislative business.
He concluded that legislative activities cannot take place in the state unless a proper inauguration was done as guaranteed by the Constitution.
This request was vehemently rejected by majority of the members who openly denounced attempts by Edo North legislators to stampede them into a matter that they were not sufficiently briefed.
The motion was saved from outright rejection by the Speaker, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila with his ruling for a proper investigation by a 13-man ad hoc committee headed by Mr. Abdulrazak Namdas, APC-Adamawa. He mandated them to investigate the crisis in Edo State House of Assembly and report back within one week.
According to the Speaker, the panel findings will determine the next action by the House.
However the twelve pro Frank Okiye’s Edo House of Assembly members have already claimed victory and in celebration mode. Their upbeat is as a result of the failure of the House of Representatives to give marching order to the Inspector General of Police (IGP), and the Department of State Services (DSS) to seal up the Assembly contrary to the expectation of the fleeing members-elect.
Reliable sources conferred with Midwest Herald last night that it will be “absolutely impossible for Governor Godwin Obaseki to reissue any proclamation letter, because the request is strange and unlawful.” Our informant expressed fear that the Clark of the Assembly may incur the wrath of law because he has already sworn to affidavit in the Federal High Court that he administered oath to the nine members on receipt of a proclamation letter from the Governor.
Don’t be dragged into illegality by desperate persons, Speaker Okiye tells NASS
Meanwhile, the Speaker of Edo State House of Assembly, Hon Frank Okiye, has called on the House of Representatives not to allow themselves to be used by anyone to achieve their personal agenda. According to him, the Edo House of Assembly was duly inaugurated on June 17, 2019 and since then the business of law-making has been going on without any hindrances.
He said: “May I state that apart from the fact that the Edo Assembly complied with the Nigerian constitution in the inauguration of the House, there also exists a court order with suit number FHC/B/CS/70/2019, FHC/B/M/285/2019, ordering the National Working Committee of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Inspector General of Police, the Commissioner of Police in Edo State, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu, all defendants, their servants and agents, not to interfere, disrupt or obstruct the constitutional duties of members of the Edo House of Assembly.”
“We welcome the decision of the House of Representatives to investigate all the issues surrounding the inauguration of the Edo State House of Assembly. We are confident that they would not find anything contrary to the provisions of the Constitution.
“We humbly advise them to be guided and not get involved in petty politics to fan the ego of an aspiring Godfather.” Okiye added.