By Simon Ebegbulem
BENIN CITY — THE member representing Oredo Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Mr. Patrick Obahiagbon, has urged his colleagues in the National Assembly, to submit the amended constitution for presidential assent, to avoid unnecessary tension in the polity.
He argued that in order not to heat up the polity, particularly as the 2011 general elections approach, “we can submit to the presidential assent, just now and still litigate the matter up to the Supreme Court to guide future processes of constitutional amendment because to continue to allow the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, luxuriate in an ambience of uncertain legal infrastructure portends serious constitutional crisis.”
Obahiagbon, who spoke to Vanguard in Benin City, Edo State, yesterday, said “my worry now is that given the subsisting ruling of a Federal High Court on the controversy, which tiltled the judicial scale in favour of presidential assent and guided by the fact that the state of law now remains unsettled until the constitutional controversy is pronounced upon by the Supreme Court and further persuaded by the fact that this may take up to February 2011- three months to the May 29, expiration of government.
“I ask a fundamental question, what does the National Assembly stand to lose, if in the overall national interest, it allows for presidential assent now whilst litigation on the matter continues up to the Supreme Court to enable the apex court’s decision guide future processes of constitution amendment,” he said.
He added that “after all, there would be future constitutional amendments to engage in.
I posit with all sense of responsibility that allowing for presidential assent just now in the overall national interest of extricating the 2011 elections from the spectral of legal uncertainties would not prevent the deepening of the rule of law and the democratic process which I also cherish, since the case in court can still be litigated up to the Supreme Court for future guidance and this I urge the National Assembly to so do”.