The Edo State Government has reacted to the Senate order which on Tuesday, July 30, 2019, asked the Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, to issue a fresh proclamation letter for inauguration of the Edo State House of Assembly within one week.
In a statement and signed on Tuesday by Secretary to the State Government, Osarodion Ogie, the state government declared that “this illegality will not stand.”
They described the Senate order as unconstitutional and a disregard for the Principle of Separation of Powers.
The state government claimed that the order was propelled by “powerful persons who want to set Edo State ablaze “merely to satisfy their thirst for power and control.”
“This move was not unexpected in the light of the enormous political pressure which had been brought to bear on the Officers and Members of the distinguished Senate by the highly placed and powerful persons who are intent on foisting their will and choices on the good people of Edo State.”
The State government said there are three pending suits pending before various courts concerning the issue of the Edo Assembly and the Senate Ad-hoc committee were informed when they visited Edo State.
“The Government of Edo State wishes to observe that the Chairman and Members of Ad-Hoc Committee of the Senate which visited Edo State were made aware of the existence of at least three suits pending before various Courts wherein the factual and legal dispute regarding the Edo State House of Assembly inauguration have been submitted to the Courts by both contending parties for resolution.
“The Ad-Hoc Committee also failed to inform the Senate of the existence of a valid injunction in Suit No FHC/B/OS/70/2019 wherein the Federal High Court restrained various parties from interfering in any manner with the activities of the Edo State House of Assembly which said order had been brought to their attention in the course of their visit to Edo State.
“In point of fact in Suit No. FHC/PH/CS/159/2019 the National Assembly, the Clerk of National Assembly, the President of the Senate and Speaker of House of Representatives amongst others were specifically ordered by the Federal High Court to maintain the Status Quo as at 25th July, 2019.
“The Edo State Government is further aware that in suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/815/2019, wherein the Clerk and the National Assembly are defendants before the Federal High Court in Abuja, the National Assembly and the Clerk have not only been duly served with the processes but have entered an appearance in the matter,” the statement read in part.
The secretary to the state government added that it is unfortunate that the Senate would act in flagrant breach of these various Court Orders and come to conclusions concerning a matter in which the parties are already before the Courts.
The Edo State Government also maintained that there is nowhere in the Constitution particularly Section 11(4) which enables the National Assembly to “take over” any House of Assembly or in this respect, the Edo State House of Assembly.
“It is the duty of the Clerk of the House of Assembly to inaugurate the House of Assembly and he has since performed that task. He has further approached a Court of law to seek a validation of his actions.
“The pronouncements of the Distinguished Senate on the subject (with respect) is clearly misconceived and would amount to interference in the role of the Courts which may in fact constitute contempt with which the Governor would not wish to be associated.
“The Government of Edo State firmly believes that our State is not a colony or a vassal of any person or persons exercising power in Abuja and we shall take all necessary steps within the ambit of the law to defend and validate our position and actions on this matter,” Ogie said.
The Senate had earlier on Tuesday ordered Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki to issue a fresh proclamation letter to the seventh Edo House of Assembly.
The Senate also ordered that the Clerk of the Edo House of Assembly should inform all 24 members elect via electronic/print media of the new inauguration date after receiving the proclamation letter from the governor.
The senate resolved that if the proclamation is not made in one week, the national assembly shall take over the functions of the Edo State House of Assembly.