Ijaw leader backs Obaseki on disobedience to National Assembly order

Ijaw leader, Edwin Clark, has supported Governor Godwin Obaseki on his insistence that he would not issue a fresh proclamation for the inauguration of the troubled Edo State House of Assembly.

The Senate had ordered the Governor to issue a fresh proclamation within a week or risk takeover by the National Assembly.

Reacting to the development, the former Federal Commission of Information said it is wrong for the Upper Legislative Chamber to issue such order, stating that it negates the stipulated law.

The Ijaw leader said the power to proclaim the commencement of the state house of assembly rests exclusively with the governor “and not the National Assembly”

Edo Assembly has been enmeshed in controversy following the circumstances surrounding the inauguration of some members believed to be the governor’s loyalists.

The inauguration reportedly took place in the midnight. The political differences between the governor and the National Chairman of All Progressive Congress (APC) Adams Oshiohmole were said to have led to the controversial inauguration.

It was alleged that there were plans by other members who are loyal to the APC national chairman to impeach Obaseki, who is interested in vying for a second term under the ruling party.

The House of Representatives intervened and submitted its report before the Upper Legislative Chamber, during plenary July 30, majority of the senior lawmakers voted that Edo Assembly should be taken over by the National Assembly if a fresh proclamation is not issued.

But Edwin Clark said, “It is unconstitutional and wrong for the National Assembly to ‘order or direct’ the Edo State Governor to issue a fresh proclamation. Section 3 places such activity squarely in the Exclusive List,” a statement released by the elder statesman on Thursday read.

He cited the case of the inauguration of the 8th Senate when Bukola Saraki emerged as the president of the Senate when some members were not in attendance.

He said “There was an announcement that all elected APC members in the National Assembly should assemble at the International Conference Centre that morning, and Mr President as the leader of the APC, who had just returned from an overseas trip, was to address the members at the meeting before going to the National Assembly for the inauguration.

Chief Clark admonished National Assembly to consider section 11 (4) of the constitution which states that “at any time when any House of Assembly of a state is unable to perform its functions by reasons of the situation prevailing in that state, the National Assembly may make such laws for the peace, order and good governance with respect to matters on which a House of Assembly may make laws as may appear to the National Assembly to be necessary or expedient until the House of Assembly is able to resume its functions; and any such laws enacted by the National Assembly pursuant to this section shall have effect as if they were laws enacted by the House of Assembly of the state: provided that nothing in this section shall be construed as conferring on the National Assembly power to remove the Governor or the Deputy Governor of the State from office.”

Recalled that the emergence of Bukola Saraki as the Senate president in 2015 was described as a legislative coup by the ruling party.