Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, on Tuesday warned the Senate not to allow powerful persons to set Edo State on fire in order to satisfy their thirst for power.
Obaseki’s comment is coming on the heel of the Senate resolution on Edo Assembly crisis directing him to issue a fresh proclamation for the inauguration of the state Assembly.
Obaseki in a statement issued and signed by Secretary to the State Government, Osarodion Ogie, declared, “This illegality will not stand.”
He said it was unfortunate that the “Distinguished Senate” would act “in flagrant breach of various court orders” and purport to come to factual and legal conclusions concerning a matter in which the parties are already before the courts and therefore subjudice.
According to the statement: “The Edo State Government watched with alarm today as the distinguished Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, in a step that was not totally unexpected, purported to pass a resolution in the following terms:
“Directing the Governor of Edo State to issue a fresh proclamation for the inauguration of the Edo State House of Assembly, and Ordering a fresh inauguration of the Edo State House of Assembly within one (1) week from the date of the said Resolution.
“As earlier mentioned, this move was not unexpected in the light of the enormous political pressure which had been brought to bear on the officers and members of the distinguished Senate by the highly placed and powerful persons who are intent on foisting their will and choices on the good people of Edo State,” he said.
The governor also noted that chairman and members of the ad hoc committee of the Senate which visited Edo State were made aware of the existence of at least three suits pending before various courts, wherein the factual and legal dispute regarding the Edo State House of Assembly inauguration have been submitted to the courts by both contending parties for resolution.
According to him, the ad hoc committee also failed to inform the Senate of the existence of a valid injunction in Suit No FHC/B/OS/70/2019 wherein the Federal High Court restrained various parties from interfering in any manner with the activities of the Edo State House of Assembly, whose said order had been brought to their attention in the course of their visit to Edo State.
He maintained that: “In point of fact in Suit No. FHC/PH/CS/159/2019, the National Assembly, the Clerk of National Assembly, the President of the Senate and Speaker of House of Representatives, amongst others, were specifically ordered by the Federal High Court to maintain the status quo as at 25th July, 2019.
“The Edo State Government is further aware that in suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/815/2019, wherein the Clerk and the National Assembly are defendants before the Federal High Court in Abuja, the National Assembly and the Clerk have not only been duly served with the processes but have entered appearance in the matter.
“We are also concerned that members of the distinguished Senate appear to have very scant regard for the principle of separation of powers as enshrined in our Constitution, which is manifested by their taking over the functions of the Judiciary in dispute resolution and giving directives to governor of a state who is certainly not subject to the supervision of the National Assembly,” he said.
The Edo State Government maintained that there was nowhere in the Constitution, particularly Section 11(4), which enables the National Assembly to “take over” any House of Assembly or in this respect, the Edo State House of Assembly.
The SSG said it must be further observed that it has always been the contention of the Edo State Government that the power to issue a proclamation for the inauguration of a House of Assembly as set out in Section 105(3) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria was duly and completely complied with and it is not within the power of the governor to recall same once issued or to perform the same act multiple times.
“Once the governor issues a proclamation letter, his job is done,” the SSG added.
Continuing, the release states, “It is the duty of the Clerk of the House of Assembly to inaugurate the House of Assembly and he has since performed that task. He has further approached a court of law to seek a validation of his actions.
“The pronouncements of the distinguished Senate on the subject (with respect) is clearly misconceived and would amount to interference in the role of the courts, which may, in fact, constitute contempt with which the governor would not wish to be associated.
“The Government of Edo State firmly believes that our state is not a colony or a vassal of any person or persons exercising power in Abuja and we shall take all necessary steps within the ambit of the law to defend and validate our position and actions on this matter.
“We call on all persons of goodwill to call the powerful wielders of ‘power and authority’ in Abuja and elsewhere to refrain from acts which are clearly unconstitutional, undemocratic and a flagrant disrespect for the principle of due process and separation of powers.
“These powerful persons should not be allowed to set our state ablaze merely to satisfy their thirst for power and control.
“As we have always maintained on this subject: This illegality will not stand.”