Ask Obaseki to issue new proclamation letter
As court orders police, APC, others not to disturb House
By Emma Amaize, Regional Editor, Gabriel Enogholase & AlemmaAliu
BENINCITY—THE leadership of the National Assembly, Inspector General of Police and Director-General of Department of State Services, DSS, after examining the crisis rocking the Edo State House of Assembly, between Tuesday night and early hours of yesterday, in Abuja, resolved that Governor Godwin Obaseki should issue a fresh proclamation for inauguration of the House.
This came as the member-elect representing Akoko-Edo II, Emmanuel Agbaje ,was inaugurated, thereby bringing to 12 the number of lawmakers so far inaugurated.
However, two members, Uyi Ekhosuehi of Oredo East and Eric Okaka of Owan East have remained absent since they were inaugurated and later claimed they were forced.
The House convened about 4.24p.m, yesterday, and after the necessary formalities, the Speaker, Frank Okiye, administered the oath of office on Agbaje at 4.31 p.m., and thereafter, announced that the House had to reconvene because of the compulsory retirement of a deputy clerk of the House, which would only become effective with the confirmation of the House “and to set the records straight” and information that some members have completed their documentation and needed to take their oath of office.
Court orders police, APC, others not to disturb House
Meanwhile, a Federal High Court sitting in Benin City, Edo State, yesterday, ordered the National Working Committee of All Progressives Congress, APC; IGP; Commissioner of Police in Edo State, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu, their servants and agents, not to interfere, disrupt or obstruct the constitutional duties of members of the Edo House of Assembly.
Trial judge, Justice M. Umar ordered: “That an interim order of injunction is hereby granted restraining the defendants by themselves, their servants, agents, officers or privies from interfering with, obstructing or harassing, in any manner whatsoever, the plaintiffs in the performance of their constitutional duties as the legislative arm of the Edo State government pending the hearing and determination of the motion on Notice for interlocutory injunction.
Meanwhile, dependable sources said APC NWC, had earlier faulted the impulsive nature of the proclamation letter issued by Governor Obaseki on June 17.
It was learned that at the restricted meeting hosted by the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, Governor Obaseki who was expected to attend was absent, as he had returned to Edo State after his rushed trip to Abuja on return to the country, last weekend.
A South-South Senator, who spoke to Vanguard anonymously, said, “The Senate President was mandated to convey the decision reached at the meeting to Governor Obaseki, who was unavoidably absent. He (governor) is to issue a fresh proclamation within five days for re-inauguration of the House with all the 24 members present.
“Nobody is taking sides on the matter, the 24 members of Edo State House of Assembly are all members of APC and we do not see why they should be at each other’s throat. All the Senate President and the security chiefs want is that the right thing be done. APC cannot be preaching rule of law and breaching it on the other hand because the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, will capitalise on such abnormality to score cheap political point.”
“The meeting started about 11 p.m., Tuesday night and ended around 2a.m., the next day. Proclamation letter is not something to hide among some few persons, all the members of the House must know about it. They resolved that the right thing should be done and whoever wins in a free and fair process, so be it.”
The source indicated that the National Assembly might likely send a team to observe the inauguration of the House and election of a new Speaker whenever a new proclamation letter issued and date fixed, adding, “Governor Obaseki is expected to comply with the directive, which will not exceed next week.
“If he does not do that with five days of receipt of the message from the Senate President, the National Assembly is likely to take over affairs of the Edo state House of Assembly and the police could also seal off the House until the fresh proclamation is issued and re-inauguration carried out,” he added.
Speaker of the House, who was reportedly attending a function when Vanguard contacted him, sent a Short Message Service, SMS, saying, “It is not true.”
Special Adviser (Media) to Edo State Government, Mr. Crusoe Osagie said he was attending a State Executive Council meeting at 10.03 a.m., yesterday, when one of our reporters called him, promising to get back.
A very senior government official, however, said the governor would not issue a proclamation letter twice and that “in any case, if there was any such meeting, was the governor there. If the governor was not there, can you then shave a man’s head in his absence?
“The governor’s role in the constitution is to issue a letter of proclamation; it is the responsibility of the Clerk to decide what to do with the letter. Therefore, the governor cannot issue another letter of proclamation.”
On the said meeting, the official maintained, “You cannot shave a man’s head in his absence, was the governor in attendance? I want you to disregard the information; nobody summoned the governor or told him to issue a fresh letter of proclamation. Letter of proclamation is not issued twice and the governor does not have any role to play, apart from issuing a letter of proclamation. The letter issued by the governor is still valid till today.”