Fred Itua, Kenneth Udeh, Abuja and Ighomuaye Lucky, Benin
The cold war between Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State and the leadership of the National Assembly has taken a new dimension.
The new face off is a fallout of Obaseki’s purported refusal to implement the resolution of the National Assembly that a new proclamation be issued for a fresh inauguration of Edo State House of Assembly.
At a meeting between governors elected on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), and the leadership of the National Assembly, Speaker, House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, had decried the refusal of Obaseki to heed the resolution of the parliament.
He said the National Assembly will appeal a recent Federal High Court judgment which restrained it from taking over the functions of Edo State House of Assembly.
In July, the Senate and the House of Representatives passed a resolution and ordered Obaseki to issue a new proclamation to re-inaugurate the House of Assembly.
In the resolution, Obaseki was given a two-week ultimatum to comply or have the National Assembly take over the functions of the State Assembly.
Following the resolution, Obaseki approached a Federal High Court in Rivers State which restrained the National Assembly from interfering in the affairs of Edo State Assembly.
Justice Kolawole Omotosho in a ruling also said the National Assembly lacked the powers to compel Obaseki to issue a fresh proclamation (while they exist a subsisting proclamation) for the inauguration of House of Assembly.
Gbajabiamila, described the court case as an affront on the National Assembly, and assured that the decision of the lower court will be challenged so a precedent is set to allow the National Assembly intervene whenever there is crises State Houses of Assembly.
Gbajabiamila, who spoke in the presence of Senate President, Ahmad Lawan said the 1999 constitution as amended, clearly stipulates how the National Assembly should intervene in crises in state Assemblies.
He pleaded with APC governors to allow the National assembly appeal the case.
Said Gbajabiamila: “Whilst we were able to successfully resolve the Bauchi State issue which is an opposition state, unfortunately, we are unable to resolve that of Edo State. I think this is what we have to look at and prioritise.
“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.”
Trouble started when the leader of the delegation and governor of Katsina, Aminu Bello Masari admitted there was crisis in the party and warned if issues were not properly managed, it could destroy the party.
Chairman of Nigerian Governors’ Forum and governor of Ekiti State, Kayode Fayemi had however interrupted the Masari and ordered newsmen be ushered out of the hall to enable them go into a closed door meeting.
Meanwhile, a group under the auspices of Change Advocate of Nigeria, (CAN), yesterday, rallied support for the administration of Governor Godwin Obaseki while calling on those instigating a parralel force to sheath their swords for the overall interest of the state.
This was contained in a statement issued and jointly signed by its National Coordinator, Comrade Osareniye Ikponmwonba and Secretary, Comrade Valentine Ogedegbe and made available to newsmen in Benin City.
The statement expressed confidence on the job done thus far by Obaseki.