Senate Orders New Proclamation for Edo Assembly
By Samuel Victor Akpan
Nigeria’s Senate has given a three week ultimatum to the Edo State governor, Godwin Obaseki to issue a new proclamation for the state’s House of Assembly.
Senate President Ahmed Lawan made this proclamation on Tuesday when the Senate Ad-Hoc Committee set up to investigate the crises in the Edo State Legislature submitted its report.
Lawan said: “In the event that a new proclamation is not issued as recommended above, within a period of three weeks the National Assembly is at liberty to invoke section 11 sub-section 4 of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended.”
He added that it was the duty of the National Assembly to “always” insist that the right thing be done even by the state governors, emphatically saying: “This is the home of democracy, this is the highest legislative chamber.”
In his reaction to the ruling, Senator Emmanuel Okejeife from Benue state, representing Benue North-West expressed fears about the implementation of legislative decisions stating that there was nothing in the constitution that indicated the Proclamation had to be published in certain media insisting there was no infraction on the constitution.
“As far as this issue is concerned this has been laid to rest” reiterated Lawan.
“The Senate has taken a decision and let me say that this decision is in conformity with the decision the House of Representatives took two weeks ago”, added the Senate President.
“This motion was taken on the 10th of July. We had three weeks, allowing for things to go through some kind of political process but I think it has proved impossible”
While advising on better timing with Senator Okejeife’s reservations even as he reckoned it may not yield little result, Lawan stated that the resolution had to be sent immediately so as not to delay the letters any further.
The Senate also reminded all of the House’s jurisdictions more so with higher government figures, saying there was no reason for the Senate to absent itself from involvement in such salient matters such as the Edo crises.
Earlier, Senator Rochas Okorocha had stressed the need for the APC in Edo to be allowed to deal with the issue internally as it was a party affair. He noted that the Senate seemed in a hurry to want to take over legislative duties of the Edo House of Assembly.
But the Senate President was quick to debunk the notion.
“We are not in a hurry to take cover," he remarked. "I believe that the message is very clear we want this issue resolved."
"The National Assembly can query decisions even by Presidents. I cannot see any reason why that when there is error, either misjudgment or something that actually is undemocratic that the National Assembly should stay away from it."
The Edo State House of Assembly crises had started back in June following the inauguration of the state’s 7th Assembly which saw Hon Frank Okiye elected as speaker and Hon Yekini Idiaye as deputy speaker.
That election saw nine members sworn in without the involvement of the other 15 that make up the 24 member constituency of the state’s assembly.
The Senate had earlier assured that justice would be served as regards the crises in the state when its ad-hoc committee investigating the matter received aggrevieved members-elect of the state’s assembly earlier in the month in Abuja.