By Julius Toba-Jegede
Abuja – The Senate has given Gov. Godwin Obaseki of Edo 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 on Tuesday 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.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that 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.
NAN reports that 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 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.
NAN reports that there have been crises in Edo Assembly since June 17, following the alleged irregularities involved in constituting the state assembly.
Similar position was recently taken by the House of Representatives which equally investigated the crisis.