SYNOPSIS OF JUDGMENT DELIVERED ON 12TH SEPT, 2019, IN SUIT NO. FHC/PH/CS/159/2019: Hon Yekini Idiaye & Anor V. Clerk of The NASS & 5 Ors:

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GOVERNOR OBASEKI (RIGHT), OSHIOMHOLE

1. ON THE 1ST DEFENDANT’S OBJECTION TO THE COURT’S JURISDICTION ON THE GROUND OF LACK OF TERRITORIAL JURISDICTION & ABUSE OF COURT PROCESS; The court held that:

*since the plaintiffs’ suit is brought in their personal capacities and not on behalf of the ESHA, the parties are different from d suit of the Speaker & The ESHA filed on 17/7/19 in Abuja which was subsequently withdrawn, hence this suit is not an abuse of court process. That since FHC PH is the vacation court for South South and South East, the suit was properly commenced in the PH division.*     

2. ON THE QUESTIONS/ISSUES SUBMITTED FOR DETERMINATION IN THE ORIGINATING SUMMONS; The Court held as follows among other pronouncements:

*(a)That NASS lacks the power/vires under the CFRN 1999 to take over the ESHA as the depositions of the plaintiffs in their affidavit that the ESHA is still meeting and transacting business was not  controverted by the defendants. (b) That the intention of the drafters of Section 11(4&5) of the CFRN 1999 is not for NASS to adjudge on it’s own when the condition precedent laid down by  the sections for the exercise of the power under Subsection 4 has happened and attempt to take over the legislative functions of the ESHA on every flimsy excuse. (c) That NASS cannot unilaterally declare that a State House of Assembly is unable to perform its legislative functions, it is the duty of the court to make such determination upon the issue if and when properly submitted to it for determination. It is after such determination by the Court that the NASS can exercise its powers under Section 11(4). It is not the duty of NASS to interprete the Constitution, that is the exclusive preserve of the courts. (d) That the NASS directive to seal off the ESHA is ultra vires the NASS as it is like the President Ordering the sealing off of a state Governor’s office. (e) That the word proclamation has been defined by Black’s law Dictionary. That from the Definition, Proclamation must be in writing and published by printing out and duly signed under the hand of an identified person issuing same. That as far as law is concerned, the 6th Defendant has duly issued the required proclamation as provided for under the CFRN 1999. (f) That NASS cannot under the CFRN 1999 issue directive to a Governor of a state in the performance of his constitutional duties. (g) That the Supreme Court’s decision in Balonwu’s case with respect to Anambra State Governor’s proclamation under Ngige is to the effect that proclamation can only be issued once as done by the 6th Defendant in this Edo State case. (h) That the directive of NASS to the 6th Defendant has the effect of creating a constitutional crisis by elongating the life of ESHA beyond the constitutionally recognized 4 years, the house haven been duly inaugurated on 17/6/19. (i) That the proclamation issued by the 6th Defendant on 14/6/19 for the inauguration of ESHA on 17/6/19 is valid and subsisting in law and the directive of NASS to the 6th Defendant to issue another proclamation is unconstitutional, null and void, just as the directive for the premises of the ESHA to be sealed off. ( j) That State Governments under the Nigerian Constitution are autonomous and not an appendage of the NASS.*

COSEQUENTLY ALL THE 4 QUESTIONS/ISSUES SUBMITTED FOR DETERMINATION ARE RESOLVED IN FAVOUR OF THE PLAINTIFFS.

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