You’re wrong, Edo Assembly reacts
I’m ashamed of Obaseki’s role—Oshiomhole
By Omeiza Ajayi
The ruling All Progressives Congress APC has condemned what it described as “the charade being presented as the inauguration of new State Houses of Assembly in Edo and Bauchi States”.
In a statement issued Thursday night in Abuja and signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu, APC upbraided Govs Godwin Obaseki of Edo and Bala Muhammed of Bauchi for resorting to underhand tactics in inaugurating the assemblies.
Part of the statement reads; “We viewed this illegality with shock and disappointment. As a party that has made a commitment to change, we strongly reject any attempt to take a recourse to brigandage of the past, when democratic practices were defined by the inordinate whims of people in power. Democracy must be governed by the rule of law. A situation where 11 lawmakers in the 31-member Bauchi State House of Assembly and nine lawmakers in the 24-member Edo State House of Assembly were secretly ‘inaugurated’ and purportedly ‘elected’ principal officers behind closed doors is a joke and an embarrassment. It is an unfortunate reminder of PDP’s queer brand of democracy. Practices like this are unacceptable under APC-led administration. As a party that is committed to higher ideals, we would use all democratic means necessary to ensure the right thing is done.
“Perhaps the actors in the inauguration sham in Edo and Bauchi States need to be reminded of the recent and widely-commended election of presiding officers in the newly-inaugurated 9th National Assembly. Our party has set new standards in party politics by upstaging the rule of force, while upholding the rule of law.
“It needs restating that every elected lawmaker has a legitimate right to participate unhindered in the inauguration of the legislative arm in which he belongs. The plot to arm-twist the majority in favour of the minority in the legislative arm died with the defeat of the PDP in 2015.
“We therefore call on the Governors of Edo State, Mr. Godwin Obaseki and Bauchi State, Bala Mohammed to urgently do the needful by issuing a proper letter of proclamation to allow for the lawful inauguration of the respective state House of Assembly and subsequent election of presiding officers in a transparent manner”, the party stated.
Reacting to the development in his home state, National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC said he was ashamed over the purported inauguration, adding that the minority cannot rule over the majority.
Speaking Friday night at the national secretariat of the party in Abuja when he received APC members-elect of the Bauchi Assembly, Oshiomhole said: “Unfortunately, the situation in Bauchi is also similar to the one that is happening in Edo State. I am ashamed to talk about it but there is nothing to hide.
“We have a similar situation in Edo where in our own case we have 24/24 all of them APC but somebody wants a particular person as a Speaker, 19 out of 24 are opposed to this person.”
He said the National Working Committee NWC of the party had met with the Inspector General of Police, Muhammed Adamu and asked him to not provide security cover for few members of the Bauchi state House of Assembly who are working in cahoot with the state Governor, Sen. Bala Muhammed.
Edo Assembly insists party lacks powers to adjudicate
Meanwhile, the leadership of the Edo State House of Assembly has faulted the stance of the National Publicity Secretary of All Progressives Congress (APC), Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu on the recent election of the house leadership, insisting that the party lacks powers to adjudicate on election of house leadership.
In a statement issued on Friday in Benin City, Speaker of the Edo House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Frank Okiye, declared that “the All Progressives Congress (APC) lacks the powers to adjudicate on constitutional functions of the Legislature.”
In the statement signed by his spokesperson, Comrade Aigbefo Jnr. Iretiose, the Speaker noted: “We have read with disappointment the flip-flop of the National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu, on the issue of the election of the leadership of the Edo State House of Assembly.
According to the Speaker: “the National Publicity Secretary of the APC or the national leadership of the party is not in a position to adjudicate on the legality or lack thereof of the emergence of the Speaker of Edo State House of Assembly. They lack the capacity therefore to disparage an issue that is already cast in law.
“If they are not clear on the issue, they should approach a court of competent legal jurisdiction to seek redress, and not issue needless and ineffectual fiats.”
He explained: “We are certain that we carried out an inauguration and election of principal officers to the 7th Assembly according to all the provisions of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution as amended. The issue of inauguration and election of principal officers is now behind us and we are now poised to carry out our constitutional responsibility of lawmaking.
“We also want to advise the National Publicity Secretary of the party to respect the independence of the legislature in Edo State. Mallam Issa-Onilu should stop calling on the head of the executive arm of government in the person of Governor Godwin Obaseki to intervene in our internal issues. Mallam Issa-Onilu should be guided that the independence of the different arms of government is one of the actual ideals of the APC, which Issa-Onilu and his advisers should be promoting.”