The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila has put the leadership of Edo State House of Assembly and the Edo State Government on notice of his plan to appeal the judgement of the Federal High Court that ruled in favour of the appellants, and Edo State Government.
It will be recall that the Federal High Court had restrained the National Assembly from taking over the legislative functions of the Edo Assembly.
Gbajabiamila disclosed his intention in his remarks during a visit by the Progressive Governors’ Forum to the leadership of the National Assembly in Abuja.
Gbajabiamila cried that the leadership of the National Assembly was surprised that it could resolve the crisis in the Bauchi State House of Assembly “which is an opposition state” but could not resolve that of Edo which is an APC state.
In his outburst, Gbajabiamila said it was surprising that the Edo Assembly has decided to test the exclusive constitutional role of the National Assembly in court.
The National Assembly, in June this year, in a move that was condemned by several political leaders, including elderstatesman, Edwin Clark, passed resolution to take over the legislative duties of the Edo Assembly.
Their motion and order was due to the refusal of some members-elect to attend the inauguration of the new members on June 17, 2019.
NASS also ordered Governor Godwin Obaseki to re-issue a fresh proclamation letter that would paved way for fresh inauguration of Edo State House of Assembly.
However, the Federal High Court in Port Harcourt subsequiently restrained the National Assembly from interfering in the affairs of the Edo State House of Assembly.
Justice Kolawole Omotosho also ruled that the National Assembly could not compel Governor Obaseki to issue another proclamation within the lifespan of an existing proclamation for inauguration of Edo House of Assembly, as doing so, will amount to elongating the life of the Assembly.
The court gave the order when it delivered judgement in a suit brought by Yekini Idiaye, the Deputy Speaker of the Edo State House of Assembly, and Henry Okhuarobo, the member representing Ikpoba-Okha State Constituency.
Omotosho had said: “There is nothing before the court to show that the Edo State House of Assembly is unable to sit.
“Some elected members have been inaugurated. The House has been carrying out its legislative duties.
“The National Assembly lacks the power to take over the Edo State House of Assembly.
“It amounts to taking over the functions of the Edo State House of Assembly.
“The House of Assembly is not an appendage of the National Assembly.”
In his reaction, Gbajabiamila said: “While addressing the issue of one party and one government, myself and my big brother the Senate President will want to draw our attention to the issue of the crisis in Bauchi and Edo states.
“Whilst we were able to successfully resolve the issue in Bauchi State, which is an opposition state, unfortunately, we are unable to resolve that of Edo State.
“I think this is what we have to look at and prioritise. We should consider how to constitutionally address the issue.
“For those of us on this side, the National Assembly, we are surprised that the exclusive constitutional roles given to us as prescribed in Section 12 of the Constitution, which is written unambiguously clear was being tested.
“We are a bit concerned about that. Of course we have three arms of government and on the basis of that, we will be going to court on this matter to resolve not just the judgement but to ensure that any other related issues like that do not come up again.
“The House of Representatives have adopted a theme, “The nation building is a joint task”, that is how we are operating in the National Assembly irrespective of our political party divides.
“We have resolved to come together when it comes to national issues. We belive that since there is one government, there should be a symbiotic relationship between the governors and the legislators,” he said.
Gbajabiamila’s outburst didn’t go down well with Governor Obaseki and forestall degeneration of issues, the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, spent a substantial part of the closed door session in calming frayed nerves, including those of the visiting Progressive Governors’ Forum, was led to the meeting by its Chairman and Governor of Kebbi State, Atiku Abubakar Bagudu.3