APC: Reps’ threat to take over Edo House of Assembly unconstitutional, unenforceable


Reactions have trailed the recommendation by the House of Representatives Ad-hoc Committee on the crisis rocking the Edo State House of Assembly.

The committee, chaired by Abdulrazak Namdas (APC-Adamawa), on Wednesday, recommended to the Inspector General of Police and the Director-General, Department of State Services (DSS), to shut down the assembly and provide adequate security there.

The House with 24 elected members has been in crisis, leading to the inauguration of only 12 members while the rest have stayed away from the activities of the assembly.

Reacting, Mr Anselm Ojezua, the Chairman of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in the state, said that the recommendation by the House of Representatives committee was unconstitutional and unenforceable.

According to Ojezua, the action of the House of Representatives amounted to assuming the function of the Judiciary.

He pointed out that Nigeria was a democracy with very clearly defined separation of powers.

Similarly, Mr Peter Esele, an APC stalwart in Edo State, said the recommendation of the ad-hoc committee for closure of the state assembly, was a sad commentary on democracy and amounted to “power grab.”

According to Esele, the language used in the recommendation was “undemocratic,” and “lacking in democratic ethos.”

He said, however, that any disagreement in a democratic system was expected to strengthen the institutions and not constrain them.

He further said that judiciary should be left to determine whether the earlier proclamation by Governor Godwin Obaseki on the state assembly was legal or not.

“Whatever outcome must be respected.

“Sadly all the protagonists always get away and the downtrodden pays the price of further neglect,” he said.

In the same vein, Chief Dan Orbih, the Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state, described the development as sad and unpleasant.

Orbih said that the ugly and unending crisis in the APC-controlled Edo House of Assembly was a huge embarrassment to the people.

“This unnecessary power show is not in the interest of the state.

“The assembly, which ought to be a house of honourable men, is now going to be occupied by uniformed armed men.

“We call on all concerned in the assembly crisis to stop this ego trip and blame game and face the serious business of good governance in the interest of the people,” he said. 
The House of Representatives had earlier threatened to take over the Assembly over the crisis rocking it in line with Section 11(4) of the 1999 Constitution as amended.

This was the submission of the report of the Ad-hoc Committee on the Need for Intervention in the Edo State House of Assembly Crisis chaired by Namdas (APC-Adamawa), which was submitted at the plenary on Wednesday.

The House, however, said it would not carry out the threat if Governor Godwin Obaseki issues a fresh proclamation to inaugurate the Seventh Edo State House of Assembly within one week in line with Section 105(3) of the constitution.

The report also added that Obaseki should publish the date, time and venue of the inauguration in any national daily and television station.

The report also recommended that all actions already taken by the members of the current assembly should be declared null and void, pending proper inauguration.

It also recommended that all members of the assembly, both those who had been inaugurated and those not yet inaugurated should dissolve their factions.

This, it stated, would be in the interest of peace and stability of the house with the view to moving the state forward.

The report also recommended that the Inspector General of Police and the Director-General, Department of State Service should shut down the State House of Assembly and provide adequate security.

The report said this would allay further fears of intimidation and threat as alleged by members-elect.

It said that where the recommendations failed, “the National Assembly should invoke the Provisions of Section 11(4) of the 1999 Constitution to take over the State House of Assembly until the situation normalises”.

A 13-member committee, on July 10, commenced investigations into the assembly crisis following a unanimous adoption of a motion under matters of urgent national importance by Rep. Julius Ihonvbere (APC-Edo).

Ihonvbere had expressed concern over the improper inauguration of the Seventh House of Assembly on June 17 and that nine out of the 24 elected members were sworn in without the knowledge of the other 15 members-elect.

Ihonvbere also alleged that the Clerk of the House secretly inaugurated the nine members-elect about 9.30p.m. which, according to him, was outside the time of legislative business.


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