By: Nneka Amaechi-Nnadi, Abuja
The Edo State Government has described as unconstitutional and a flagrant disregard for the Principle of Separation of Powers, the resolution of the Senate directing the Governor of Edo State to issue a fresh proclamation for the inauguration of the Edo State House of Assembly.
In a statement issued, yesterday, and signed by Secretary to the State Government, Osarodion Ogie Esq., the state government declared that “this illegality will not stand”, and advised “powerful persons not be allowed to set our state ablaze merely to satisfy their thirst for power and control.”
According to the statement: “The Edo State Government watched with alarm today as the distinguished Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in a step that was not totally unexpected, purported to pass a resolution in the following terms: – Directing the Governor of Edo State to issue a fresh proclamation for the inauguration of the Edo State House of Assembly, and Ordering a fresh inauguration of the Edo State House of Assembly within one week from the date of the said Resolution.
“As earlier mentioned, 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.
“This is borne out by the recorded statements made by one Seid Oshiomhole (a Member-elect and younger brother of the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress Comrade Adams Oshiomhole) wherein he boasted that both the Senate President, Senator Ahmed Lawan and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila have been instructed on what to do in this matter.”
The statement added: “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.”
Ogie noted that “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.
He maintained that: “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 appearance in the matter.
“It is unfortunate that the Distinguished Senate would act in flagrant breach of these various court orders and purport to come to factual and legal conclusions concerning a matter in which the parties are already before the courts and therefore subjudice.
“We are also concerned that the Members of the Distinguished Senate appear to have very scant regard for the principle of separation of powers as enshrined in our Constitution which is manifested by their taking over the functions of the Judiciary in dispute resolution and giving directives to a governor of a state who is certainly not subject to the supervision of the National Assembly.
“The Edo State Government maintains 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.”
The SSG added that “It must be further observed that it has always been the contention of the Edo State Government that the power to issue a proclamation for the inauguration of a House of Assembly as set out in Section 105(3) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria was duly and completely complied with and it is not within the power of the Governor to recall same once issued or to perform the same act multiple times. Once the Governor issues a proclamation letter, his job is done.
“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.
“We call on all persons of goodwill to call the powerful wielders of “power and authority” in Abuja and elsewhere to refrain from acts which are clearly unconstitutional, undemocratic and a flagrant disrespect for the principle of due process and separation of powers.
“These powerful persons should not be allowed to set our state ablaze merely to satisfy their thirst for power and control. As we have always maintained on this subject: – This illegality will not stand!!!”
Earlier, the Senate had given Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State one week to issue a fresh proclamation for the constitution of the Edo State House of Assembly or the Senate takes over its legislative functions.
The Senate took the decision, yesterday, at the plenary when it received the report of its ad hoc committee led by Sen. Abdullahi Sabi (APC Niger) which had, in the past two weeks, investigated the crisis in the assembly.
The committee had initially recommended three weeks for the take-over, but the recommendation was later amended to a week.
The Senate said that its action was hinged on Section 11 (4) of the 1999 Constitution which empowers it to wade into such crises and take over the legislative duties of such crisis-ridden assemblies.
The Senate started looking into the matter following a point of order raised by Sen. Opeyemi Bamidele (APC Ekiti) on July 10.
Among other recommendations of the Senate is that a proper proclamation should be issued by Obaseki and must be advertised in both print and electronic media, inviting all the 24 members of the assembly to its inauguration.
However, a contrary position was taken Sen. Rochas Okorocha (APC Imo), who said that the Senate appeared to be in a hurry to take over the Edo State House of Assembly.
“The National Assembly seems to be overreaching its boundary in this matter. We appear to be in a hurry to take over the Edo State House of Assembly.
“We should see this as a family affair in APC and we must not ridicule ourselves in public, rather we should look into the matter instead of this position the Senate is taking.
“I have been a governor before and I think what is happening in Edo is simply a failure of leadership which can be addressed,’’ he said.
Sen. Sam Egwu (PDP Ebonyi), however disagreed, saying that it was wrong for the state governor to have constituted an assembly by 9 p.m., referring to a claim of the ad hoc committee.
“It is suspect for the governor to have issued a proclamation constituting a parliament by 9 p.m. For me, the governor did a very wrong thing,’’ he said.
President of the Senate, Dr Ahmad Lawan, while defending the position, said: “The decision is in conformity with the decision of the House of Representatives two weeks ago.
“If the National Assembly can reach out to the president on any matter, I don’t see any reason why same cannot be done in any state when democracy is threatened.
“I thank the National Assembly and the committee for coming to the rescue of democracy again,’’ he said.
There have been crises in Edo Assembly since June 17, following the alleged irregularities involved in constituting the state assembly.
Rivers’ll Ensure Safe, Secure Environment For Economic Growth -Wike .
Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has said that his administration would continue to support security agencies in the state to ensure a safe and secure environment for the economic prosperity of citizens.
He said the Rivers State Neighbourhood Safety Corps, the Operation Sting and the revitalised C4i security outfits were set up to help provide security to stimulate growth and prosperity of all in Rivers State.
The governor spoke through the Secretary to the State Government, Dr. Tammy Danagogo, at the 2021 Conference/Annual General meeting of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations, Rivers State chapter, in Port Harcourt, yesterday.
“This administration has embarked on aggressive infrastructural development and a very deliberate urban renewal efforts around the capital to attract local and foreign investors to stimulate our economy.
“We have also opened up local governments through quality road networks. Upgrade of various social and recreational facilities in various local government areas,” he said.
He commended the state chapter of the NIPR for the choice of the theme of the conference: “Nigeria’s Security Situation: A Factor in Reputation and National Development”, adding that stakeholders must begin to act in a very different, drastic and positive strategy to remedy the already battered reputation of Nigeria.
He urged the NIPR to use its expertise and experience to thrive to galvanise and stimulate the populace and government at various levels for the resuscitation of citizens sense of pride and responsibility of whatever was left of the nation’s image and reputation.
“All hands must be on deck, especially reputation managers to call on government at all levels to begin to act in ways and manner that will help to revive the battered image of this country,” he added.
Welcoming guests and participants to the conference, the Rivers State Commissioner for Information and Communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, who is also the state chairman of NIPR, commended the cordial relationship existing between the institute and the state government under the leadership of Governor Wike who is a honorary fellow of the institute.
“Governor Wike has been very supportive of all the activities of the Institute. That is what you also get from a visionary leader who has changed the landscape of Rivers State with infrastructure, with various developmental projects that touch the lives of the ordinary man,” he said.
Nsirim said the state chapter of NIPR was proud to associate with Governor Wike for the giant strides he has recorded and would continue to record until the end of his tenure in 2023.
“As a chapter that is responsive to the development of Nigeria, we have chosen the theme for this year’s conference as our own way of contributing to the national discourse,” he said.
He said the conference would produce a blueprint that would guide national discourse and urged participants to contribute robustly to the conversation.
“It is expected that the fallout of the conference will re-engineer national security and national development with the aim to put our country on the path of rapid growth,” he said.
In his speech, the President and Chairman of Governing Council of NIPR, Malam Mukhtar Sirajo, emphasised on the need for all Nigerians to collaborate to fight insecurity currently confronting the country’s economic and political stability.
He welcomed the theme of the conference, saying that it was coming at the time the institute had gotten sufficient worry about national security, peace and economic development.
In his keynote address, Dr. Ike Neliaku, chronicled the increasing violent crimes that had claimed thousands of lives in the various parts of Nigeria, and submitted that the rising insecurity situation in the country had impacted and would continue to impact negatively on corporate and national reputation.
He said the worrisome development would have concomitant consequence on individual and national development.
Chairman of the conference, Chief Felix Otuwarikpo, said the conference was put together to dissect the current carnage affecting the Nigerian nation.
“As an institute, we will leverage on the conference to proffer solutions to the security challenges affecting the nation,” he said.
The conference also featured the presentation of awards for good public relations and community development to some distinguished members and organisations.
Church Of Nigeria Honours Wike, Sanwo-Olu, Akeredolu, Others
The Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) has bestowed awards for exemplary leadership qualities in a challenging economy and dedication in the service of God and humanity on the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike; Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu; Ondo State Governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, and Ogun State Governor, Adedapo Abiodun.
Also honoured is the Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Prof Emmanuel Abayomi, with an award for quality and equitable healthcare delivery.
The awardees were honoured at the standing committee meeting of the Church of Nigeria, at the Diocese of Lagos, Archbishop Adebola and Oluranti Ademowo Resource Centre, Faith Plaza, Bariga, Lagos State.
The Primate of All Nigeria Anglican Communion, the Most Rev. Henry Ndukuba, who conferred the awards on the recipients, said the political leaders were considered for the award for their outstanding role, courageous leadership, and standing firm in defense of Nigerians against insecurity, provision of basic infrastructure to the citizenry and the fight against Covid-19 pandemic.
Addressing the congregation on the state of the nation and the role of the church, Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, admonished the leadership of the church to encourage its members to be part of the governance process in the country.
The governor noted that a situation whereby Christians leave governance for politicians alone is no longer obtainable.
According to Wike, the effect of bad leadership will also affect the church if they remain passive to the issue of governance.
“You must be part of choosing leadership. Don’t say you have no role, you have a role. When you don’t participate, bad leaders will emerge and when bad leadership emerges, you are part of it.
“You must encourage your people to be part of leadership. I didn’t go to any school to study leadership.
“So, nobody should say that as a Christian you cannot be a governor, no. The head of SUBEB in my state is a priest and you can see the leadership he has given to that agency today. You will feel proud about it. That used to be the most corrupt agency, but today it is headed by a priest and you can see the difference.”
Wike decried the inherent injustice that has characterised the Nigerian State, and urged the church to speak against socio-political issues adversely affecting the progress of the country.
“We say we are all one Nigeria. We went to World Bank to borrow money to do specific projects. One of the states that make up Nigeria I hear is Rivers State. And I also know in paying this money back to World Bank, money that comes from the resources of my state will be used in paying back this money. But my state was denied to have projects from that loan.”
The Rivers State governor said a situation where states depend on the Federal Government to survive can no longer be tenable, and insisted that states must be allowed to collect revenues such as Value Added Tax (VAT) to enable them improve the welfare of their people.
“You have gone to take loan and I am one of those states that will pay back those loan and you deny me to benefit from the projects that that money will be used for. I have no problem with that.
“Allow me the one (VAT) the Constitution says I am entitled to, let me collect that one and develop my state.”
He regretted that some governors in Nigeria have refused to think out of the box on how to boost economic activities in their states.
“There is flood in my state, it requires N200millon, I will go to Abuja to beg. Even as a governor, I will knee down before a DG of an agency of government. You will knee down for a director just because of N300million. That is the status of some of the governors of some states.”
In his remarks, Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, commended the church for its support, and announced the waiver of N2billion for land acquired by the Church of Nigeria in Lagos State.
The governor stated that Nigeria and the rest of the world are going through difficult times amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, and used the occasion to canvass for mass vaccination of the citizens.
The Primate of All Nigeria Anglican Communion, the Most Rev. Henry Ndukuba, while speaking on the theme of the conference: “Abiding in Christ: God’s Panacea in an Unstable World”, lamented that Nigeria was fast becoming a land flowing with tears and blood because of the impact of terror, banditry, herdsman attacks on communities and kidnapping.
He said a situation in which communities that are predominantly Christians are targeted one after another in some parts of Kaduna State and North-Central of Nigeria was unacceptable.
“We call on President Muhammadu Buhari to brand the bandits and herders attackers as terrorists and let them be treated as such.”
The Primate urged Nigerians to avail themselves the opportunity 2023 general election offer to exercise their right to choose new leaders.
He appealed to the Federal Government to urgently address the free fall in the value of the country’s currency because of the attendant impact on the store of value and confidence of investors.
Rivers Begins Process To Check Flooding
The Rivers State Government has said that it was working with relevant agencies to roll out the process that would check perennial flooding in the state.
The state Commissioner for Information and Communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, disclosed this at a media briefing in Port Harcourt, last Wednesday.
Nsirim, therefore, called on those living and doing business in the state to play their part in line with the programme that would be executed by government to address the problem of flooding.
He frowned at the situation where residents of Port Harcourt had turned the drainage systems into refuse bins, and warned that “that is not what it should be.
“The present administration under Governor Nyesom Wike is desirous to make Rivers State a destination of choice and that is why the government has embarked on massive infrastructural development in line with its urban renewal programme.
“So, what is expected of those living and doing business in Rivers State now, is to co-operate with government to ensure that the urban renewal programme and the plan by government to make this state a destination of choice is realised,” he said.
He noted that the state government could not do it alone as it required the support of corporate organisations, civil society groups, religious organisations and the media to enlighten their publics on the need to behave as responsible citizens.
He called on the media to embark on massive enlightenment programmes along the line of the roles of citizens in checking flooding in the state.
“We believe that if the citizens cooperate with government, as government is out to ensure that everyone living and doing business in the state does so in a healthy environment, we believe that in the next few days or weeks we will find a solution to this (flooding),” he said.
Nsirim also announced the names of entrants selected for the essay competition on the title, “Our State Our Responsibility” introduced under the second phase of the #OurStateOurResponsibility advocacy campaign of the ministry launched at the beginning of this month.
He said those shortlisted were expected to be at the conference room of the ministry by 11am on Monday, September 27, 2021, for a physical test to ascertain their original ownership.
Those shortlisted are: Jessica Hart, Samuel William, Amarachi Chimezie, Jasper Dorcas, Jaja Tamunoimiegba Christian, Sophia Oyibo, Blessing Pepple, Anyiam kelechukwu, Deborah Adegbami, Gift Samuel, Okiche Golden, Okiche Miracle, Orovwigwo Deborah, Otuka Goodluck and Ziga Paago.
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