By Isaiah Osifo
On Thursday, July 19, Edo people witnessed familiar solidarity rallies usually organised by incumbent government with state resources.
This time, it was Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State organizing a rally to justify his unlawful supervision of the midnight inauguration of Edo State House of Assembly with nine out of the 24 elected members.
The National Chairman of All Progressives Congress, (APC), Adams Oshiomhole, was the subject matter instead of discussing the legality or otherwise of the June 17 midnight inauguration of Edo State House of Assembly . Oshiomhole’s entitlements were insults from Obaseki that he supported to be elected as governor.
The agenda of the rally was clear to all rational minds. To raise illogical sentiments against Oshiomhole and to mobilize mob actions against the paths of constitutional and legal resolution of the crises associated with the inauguration of Edo State House of Assembly.
It is immoral for Obaseki to make Oshiomhole the subject matter of his solidarity rally. Oshiomhole is not an elected member of Edo State House of Assembly . His support and the opinion of the national leadership of APC for appropriate inauguration of the House of Assembly is not a crime against the institution or the people of Edo State. All reasonable minds have commended Adams Oshiomhole and are still applauding him for standing on the side of the people and the law.
The desperate actions of Obaseki are increasingly challenging his credentials for the office of a Governor and exposing his false claims to performance. It is self contradictory for a performing governor to be consumed in the politics of political party composition or the leadership of the House of Assembly .
The most visible quality of a democratic and a performing governor is non-interference with the duties of the legislative arm of government and support for the rule of law . The willingness of the governor to be accountable to the people through the state House of Assembly is a major index of a transparent Governor. A lawful and a responsible Governor can be known by subjecting excesses, if any,of a legislative arm to judicial interpretation , not hired crowd of a spurious solidarity rally in support of a constitutional violation. Obaseki expectedly has not demonstrated qualities of a transparent or accountable governor.
We are in a developing democracy in Nigeria. All Nigerians inclusive of the people of Edo should be united and committed to the support of actors and actions for sustainable democracy in the in particular and Nigeria in general. Obaseki solidarity rally of substituting the subject matter of the legality or otherwise of the inauguration of Edo State House of Assembly with insults on Oshiomhole and attempting to replace the constitutional functions of the House with mob actions can only share in the characteristics of a rogue government . Any arm of government, group or individual acting to prevent the constitutional functions of any of the arms of government is a crime not only against the office holder but against the entire society. Frustrating the lawful inauguration of Edo State House of Assembly is a crime against the people of the state.
Edo people and Nigerians should ignore the rantings of Obaseki and resist the antics of his supporters that are attempting to trivialize the controversy over the inauguration of the state House of Assembly as a conflict between Oshiomhole and Obaseki . Godwin Obaseki is not the first Governor of Edo State and this is not the first proclamation of Edo State House of Assembly . All good men and women of conscience, with or without legal education, are familiar with the procedures and the norms of the House of Assembly inauguration. The institutions that are vested with the constitutional powers to resolve this controversy should appreciate the national interest and urgency required for the constitutional and legal resolution of the crises.
Edo State House of Assembly is neither the property of Obaseki nor Oshiomhole. It is not the secretariat of APC, PDP or any political party. It is the parliament of Edo State that should be lawfully inaugurated in line with the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
- Osifo, a university teacher, is Co-ordinator of Nigeria Grassroots Patriots.