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Edo Assembly crisis: Your action is unconstitutional, illegal, Clark tells Gbaja

…Group cautions Oyegun; lEYV cautions Reps
…Benin chief urges adherence to NASS advice

By Henry Umoru & Alemma Aliu

Elder statesman, Chief Edwin Clark, yesterday, took a swipe at the Speaker, House of Representatives and the entire Reps over the action taken on Edo State House of Assembly, describing their position as unconstitutional and illegal.

Meanwhile, barely 24 hours after former National Chairman of All Progressives Congress, APC, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, berated the incumbent National Chairman of the party, Mr Adams Oshiomhole, over the crisis that has bedeviled the party in Edo State, a group, Edorisiagbon Network, has cautioned Oyegun not to heat up the polity but should rather act like a father figure to douse tension in the party.

This came on the heels of call by Chief Okponmwense Ezomo, the Ezomo of Benin Kingdom, on all parties in the crisis to comply with whatever decision the National Assembly comes out with to resolve the crisis in the state House of Assembly.

Also, a group, Edo Youth Vanguard,EYV,  has sounded a stern warning to the House of Representatives and the leadership of APC to either be impartial in their intervention in the contrived impasse in the state House of Assembly or incur the wrath of the youth.

In a statement in Benin City by its president, Nosakhare Oseghale, the group queried  the lower legislative arm’s ill-conceived directive to Governor Godwin Obaseki to  issue a fresh proclamation to the Assembly for proper constitution while directing the Inspector General of Police and the Director-General of the Department of State Service, DSS, to shut down the Assembly and provide adequate security to allay further fears of intimidation and threat as alleged by some members-elect.

Your action unconstitutional,  illegal, Clark tells Gbaja

Chief Clark in a letter to the Speaker of House of Representatives, said: “My dear  Speaker, it is with great respect I decided to address this open letter to you because the issues concerned are of public interest, and I hope it will not come to you as a surprise, but, if it causes you any embarrassment or inconvenience, I sincerely apologise to you and the rest of your 359 members.

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“I have painfully watched with great concern, the legislative squabble in Edo State House of Assembly, and the rapidity without any due process the House of Representatives interfered in the affairs of the Edo State House of Assembly.

‘’The power you have over state Houses of Assembly is constitutional, which must be exercised with due process. The House of Representatives alone has no power or authority to interfere in the affairs of Edo State House of Assembly as it was asserted to have done. It is unconstitutional and of no legal effect.

“The Senate acting on the same subject stated that it has not completed its findings in the disagreement between the members of the Edo State House of Assembly and that it will soon come to the resolution on the matter, which is at variance with the position already taken by your House.

“Simply put, it is only the Senate and the House of Representatives, which form the National Assembly that has the power or authority to interfere in the matter of Edo State House of Assembly. The Senate cannot do it alone, and the House of Representatives cannot also do it alone. The two must act together.

“The National Assembly must carry out its functions either in the making of bills or passing of resolutions.

“The legal meaning of proclamation is to declare formerly or officially. There is no binding law or constitutional provision, which says that all the 24 members; or that the majority of members must be present at the inauguration, after the governor had made his proclamation.

“The constitution provides that, the House can perform its functions when one-third of the members are present. In the case of Edo State House of Assembly, eight members form the quorum, therefore, free and legal in performing their duties including the election of Speaker and the Deputy Speaker, and to confirm commissioners.”

Clark, who advised the National Assembly to  as a matter of practice, always refrain from discussing the matter that was  already being dealt with by court of law, said: “Mr. Speaker from the foregoing, I strongly advise you to retract your decision to shut-down Edo State House of Assembly, asking the governor to rescind his proclamation and to issue a new one.”

Group cautions Oyegun

In a separate development, Edorisaigbon Network, in a statement by Chief Idahosa  Amasowomwan said, Oyegun’s attack on Oshiomhole was out of place.

He said “Chief Oyegun has been fanning the embers of discord, disloyalty and utter irresponsibility against the National Working Committee of the ruling APC. Yes, we are interested in amicable resolution of the APC crisis, which was complicated by Governor Obaseki’s machiavellic inauguration of minority rule at dead hours of June 17, of nine out of 24 elected members of the Edo State House of Assembly against all relevant sections of Nigeria’s constitution and established moral culture of Edo people.

“We can’t side a governor who, out of his desperation to cloth his abuse of due process, alleged crass mismanagement of state resources wickedly sidelined 15 members from inauguration. Edo people were not brought up that way, it is thus an alien culture.”

Benin chief urges adherence to NASS advice

Also,  Ezomo in a statement in Benn City likened the crisis to a case of the hand of Esau and the voice of Jacob but admonished that for the sake of peace, all parties should abide by the National Assembly advice.

He said: “I see an invisible hand mesmerizing Edo State House of Assembly. The popular biblical proverb ‘The voice of Jacob and the hand of Esau’ comes to mind.”

EYV cautions Reps

On its part, EYV in a statement by Oseghale, said: “We are surprised and shocked that the House of Representatives seems to have abdicated its primary responsibility of representing the common and collective interests of the citizens through the enactment of laws for the peace, order and good governance of the federation among other equally important legislative duties.

“In a democracy, as practised in Nigeria, the legislature exists as an independent institution, which deepens democracy and ultimately strengthens the polity. Shirking or abdicating these all-important responsibilities on the altar of parochial and partisan and political interests imperils democracy and that comes with devastating consequences.”

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