The festering feud between the Executive Governor of Edo State,Godwin Obaseki and the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress ( APC), Adams Oshiomhole , Monday marred meeting between APC Governors and leadership of the National Assembly.
The feud reared its ugly head at the meeting held in room 301 of the Senate wing when the House of Representatives speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, opened up on the controversial issue by remarking that the National Assembly had resolved to appeal the judgement of Federal High Court in Port Harcourt which restrained it from interfering in the affairs of Edo State House of Assembly.
Gbajabiamila said: “Myself and my big brother the Senate President will want to the draw our attention to the issue of the crisis in Bauchi and Edo states. Whilst we were able to successfully resolve the issue in Bauchi State, which is an opposition state, unfortunately, we are unable to resolve that of Edo State, where our party is in control.
“I think this is what we have to look at and prioritise. We should consider how to constitutionally address the issue. For those of us on this side, the National Assembly, we are surprised that the exclusive constitutional roles given to us as prescribed in Section 12 of the constitution which is written unambiguously clear was being tested.
“We are a bit concerned about that. Of course we have three arms of government and on the basis of that, we will be going to court on this matter to resolve not just the judgement but to ensure that any other related issues like that do not come up again.”
As Gbajabiamila made those comments, the countenance of Obaseki changed as he watched the speaker with worries and discomfort.
The meeting immediately went into closed doors and the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, spent some time calming frayed nerves. It was learnt.
A source at the meeting disclosed that the atmosphere was charged and stormy as Obaseki made it clear that he can’t be cowed by anybody in the discharge of his duties as governor.
Senate President Ahmad Lawan, it was learnt spent time to introduce sanity into the meeting. “He spoke with more maturity and wisdom during the closed door meeting,” a source said.
Katsina State governor, Aminu Masari, who led the APC governors to the meeting had tried to explain the agenda of the meeting earlier.
According to him, the Progressive Governors Forum has a standing subcommittee on Legislative Matters that started in the last Assembly. But unfortunately, no success came out for obvious reasons.
“So we thought that we should contact you early enough so that we put a machinery in motion in making sure that this time around, we are on the same page – the Progressive Governors Forum and the National Assembly. In doing so we want to use this opportunity to address some fundamental issues that does not only affect APC alone as a political party but the whole nation.”
Masari noted that “the absence of coordination has produced crisis of trust which if care is not taken can destroy our party and the political process. So as leaders, we need to make amends especially in the area of management of political relations among all the party stakeholders.”
The governor drew attention to the crisis that made the APC to lose some of the States it hitherto controlled saying “We need not remind ourselves of what happened between 2015 and 2019. We unfortunately allowed avoidable circumstances to give new life to our political opponents, especially parties in opposition to APC, like PDP.
“We have not managed our personal aspiration to contest elections through the inability of our party leadership to painstakingly ensure broad consultations leading to collective decision that were recorded on most of these avoidable circumstances. We know what happened in the build up to 2019, the crisis we have in so many states within our own political party. I am referring to those crisis that could have been avoided. Recognizing that conflicting demands from all stakeholders would not be easy to manage. Compliance with the provisions of our party constitution, and the relevant laws of Nigeria.”
Justice Kolawole Omotosho of the Port Harcourt Federal High Court, had in a ruling on the Edo Assembly crisis stated that National Assembly could not compel Governor Godwin Obaseki to issue another proclamation within the lifespan of an existing proclamation for inauguration of Edo House of Assembly.
The Judge also stated that NASS could not compel Governor Obaseki to issue another proclamation within the lifespan of an existing proclamation for inauguration of Edo House of Assembly.
The court gave the order when it delivered judgement in a suit brought by Yekini Idiaye, the Deputy Speaker of Edo Assembly, and Henry Okhuarobo, the member representing Ikpoba-Okha State Constituency.
The plaintiffs had approached the court to challenge alleged moves by NASS to take over the functions of the Edo House of Assembly.
Mr Omotosho had said: “There is nothing before the court to show that the Edo State House of Assembly is unable to sit.
“Some elected members have been inaugurated. The House has been carrying out its legislative duties. The National Assembly lacks the power to take over the Edo State House of Assembly.
“It amounts to taking over the functions of the Edo State House of Assembly. The House of Assembly is not an appendage of the National Assembly.”