The crises rocking Edo and Bauchi state House of Assemblies deepened with the National Working Committee of the governing All Progressives Congress (APC) insisting the rule of law must be obeyed to the letter irrespective of party affiliations.
The party said it’s ashamed of Governor Godwin Obasaki of Edo state and his Bauchi counterpart, Bala Mohammed for the roles the duo played in their state assemblies.
Addressing newsmen at the APC national secretariat Sunday in Abuja, National Publicity Secretary, Malam Lanre Issa-Onilu insisted the party was not let go of the issues until proper thing was done in the affected states.
He said: “So, I feel ashamed as a member of APC that a state where APC, where we have a governor, is involved in this kind of impunity. It is not something that sinks well with members of this party because that is not the kind of reputation that we want to have.
“We would have conveniently dealt with Bauchi because it is a PDP state and whatever is going there is not strange because that is what has been the practice under PDP, even though we are no longer going to allow it in this country, no matter what party is ruling, including an APC state. This is the issue. It is not about somebody claiming that he has not been allowed to govern. I don’t understand exactly what that is supposed to mean.
“Is it that you want to construct road and you were not allowed or you want to build hospital and they said don’t do that or you want to make life comfortable for your people and somebody is stopping you? Is there such a situation in Edo? That is the only time somebody can say I am not being allowed to be governor. But when you say because I am not allowed to carry through impunity, then you are not allowed to govern, then that sounds more like PDP state and it is not something that we are comfortable with as members of APC.
“Irrespective of what party is involved in this, as a party, we will not allow it. The proper thing must be done in Bauchi and Edo, nothing more.
“Whatever some party leaders in Edo and Bauchi are saying is their personal opinion. This issue has nothing to do with the national chairman. Something is happening in Bauchi and Edo, so, who is responsible for the one in Bauchi? Can we just address the issue and not allow people take us away from the issues and mislead us?”
The real issue
“The issue is that there was supposed to be a proper proclamation of the House of Assembly in Edo and Bauchi and what happened in both cases fell short of expectations. So, do the right thing. You can deal with whoever you think is your problem. That is a different issue. Our only concern here is that wherever, either in Bauchi, Edo or anywhere else, the rule of law must guide whatever we do. Enough of impunity in this country and we will not take it.”
On what the party intends doing, he said: “The question of what we are going to do as a party, the law has stipulated what should happen. What should happen is that the National Assembly is clearly empowered in a situation where it is clear that a particular House of Assembly is incapable of conducting its business, the law is clear on what should be done. We are glad to note that the respective people are already doing what they are supposed to do. So, every other thing about godfather, godson is irrelevant to this issue.”
Oyegun blasts APC chair
Meanwhile, the immediate past National Chairman of APC, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, has again attacked his successor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole over “the role he is playing in fuelling the crisis in Edo state”.
Reacting to the recent face-off between Governor Obaseki and the House of Representatives ad-hoc committee over control of the state legislature, Oyegun said he was yet to come to terms with why Oshiomhole easily forgot he never interfered in Edo state’s affairs as the national chairman of the ruling party while he held forte as governor.
In a statement issued Sunday by his public affairs adviser, Chief Ray Morphy in Abuja, Oyegun wondered why Oshiomhole failed to realise that Obaseki should be supported as the only APC governor in the South-south geopolitical zone rather than vilifying and destabilising his administration.
Oyegun, a former governor of Edo state, expressed shock why Oshiomhole is blatantly and brazenly engaging in anti-party activities to the extent that the APC in Edo is now ridden with confusion and division.
He said: “The recent outburst by Governor Obaseki and the report by the House of Representatives ad-hoc committee, indicting the current national chairman of the APC has confirmed my earlier claim that Oshiomhole is not only the architect but also responsible for fuelling the crisis in Edo state.
“In the face of these confirmations, I want to urge Oshiomhole to stop disgracing the ruling party and the good people of Edo state. I wonder how he could easily forget that I never interfered or bothered about how he ran the government as the then governor of Edo state all the while I occupied the position of the party’s national chairman.
“I am yet to come to terms why it has become difficult for Oshiomhole to realise that Governor Obaseki is the only APC governor in the entire South-south and should be allowed to concentrate in giving the people of Edo the dividends of democracy.
“It is shocking that a man who boastfully claimed to have buried godfatherism in the Edo state politics could become enmeshed in playing God to his successor. Oshiomhole is not only guilty of godfatherism but also guilty of anti-party activities, considering the ignorable role he has been playing and his shameful involvement in the whole Edo crisis.
“Rather than dissipating energy in fomenting more crises, Oshiomhole should rather concentrate in ensuring that the federal government policies conform with the party’s manifesto and campaign promises to the good people of this country.
“I appeal to him once more to stop disgracing the governing party APC and Edo state. He should give the governor a breeding space to concentrate in doing the job of serving the people of Edo state.”
Pro-Buhari lawyer faults Reps
In a related development, a pro-Muhammadu Buhari lawyer, Kayode Ajulo, has faulted the move by the lower chamber to shut down Edo state House of Assembly, describing it as “unconstitutional and ultra-vires.”
On the proclamation mandating Obaeki to issue a fresh proclamation for the state assembly within one week, Ajulo, a constitutional lawyer, said: “It is therefore unequivocal that the directives given by the House of Representatives are unconstitutional and ultra vires the powers conferred on the National Assembly by that section.
“The poser then is: is the Edo state House of Assembly unable to perform its functions in order to validly invoke the powers conferred on the National Assembly pursuant to section 11(4) of the Constitution?
“It is pertinent to note that pursuant to Section 96 of the Constitution, the 9 members of the Edo state House of Assembly validly constituted the one-third quorum required for the sitting of the House and as such, the National Assembly is precluded from making laws for the State as provided by section 11(5) of the Constitution.
“The Joint Sitting of the Senate & the House of Representatives: On the second limb, assuming but without conceding that the National Assembly has the powers to give such directives, the law provides for a joint sitting of the ‘the National Assembly’ not solely the Senate nor the House of Representative as provided by section 11 of the Constitution and the required quorum shall be one-third of all the members of both Houses pursuant to section 54(2) of the Constitution.
“On the validity of the proclamation made by the Governor Obaseki pursuant to section 105(3) of the constitution and the inauguration of the 8th Assembly, It is left for the court of law to determine the validity or otherwise of the proclamation by the governor pursuant to section 6 of the constitution. The directives of the House of Representatives only amount to placing the cart before the horse.
“There is no gain saying that the House of Representatives by its directive is assuming the role of the judiciary which is against the cardinal principle of separation of power.
“The House of Representatives under the supervision of Rt. Honourable Femi Gbajabiamila, a progressive, seasoned parliamentarian and a lawyer cannot assume the toga of a National Assembly without the joint or concurrent nod of the Senate.
“It should be noted that Nigeria is not a banana republic but a democratic society where rule of law must take its full course.”