Elders statesman, Chief Edwin Clark, has written to the Speaker of House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, pointing out that the directive by the House to the police to shut down Edo State House Assembly is illegal.
He has, therefore, urged him to retract the order as according to him, the assembly was not in a position where it cannot function.
The former minister who read the letter at a press conference in his Abuja residence on Monday regretted the rapidity with which the house interfered
In the Edo Assembly crisis, saying that the green chamber has no power to act alone on the issue.
“The power you have over States Houses of Assembly is Constitutional which must be exercised with due process,” he said.
Clark stated: “The House of Representatives alone have no power or authority to interfere in the affairs of the Edo State House of Assembly as it is asserted to have done. It is unconstitutional and of no legal effect.
“The Senate acting on the same subject stated that it has not completed its findings in the disagreement between the members of the Edo State House of Assembly and it will soon come to the resolution of the matter which is at variance with the position already taken by your House.
“Simply put, it is only the Senate and the House of Representatives which form the National Assembly has the power or authority to interfere in the matter of the Edo State House of Assembly. The Senate cannot do it alone, and the House of Representatives cannot also do it alone. The two must act together.
“The National Assembly must carry out its functions either in the making of Bills or passing of Resolutions which they do in carrying out such functions create issues that will affect the peace and welfare of the people.
“The rapidity with which the House of Representatives waded into the disagreement of members in Edo State House of Assembly has no doubt gone a long way to escalate the crisis in the Edo State House of Assembly and the State.”
The foremost south south leader recalled that the Edo Assembly crisis started with the inauguration of nine members out of the 24 elected following the proclamation by Governor Godwin Obaseki.
He explained: “The legal meaning of proclamation is to declare formally or officially. There is no binding law or constitutional provision which says that all the 24 members; or that the majority of members must be present at the inauguration after the Governor has made his proclamation.
“The Constitution provides that, the House can perform its functions when one-third of the members are present. In the case of Edo State House of Assembly, 8 members form the quorum, therefore free and legally covered to perform their duties including the election of Speaker and the Deputy Speaker, and to confirm Commissioners.”
Clark also remarked that what happened in the Edo Legislature was not different from the election of principal officers of the National Assembly in 2015 when Bukola Saraki and Yakubu Dogara emerged Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives respectively, even when most members of the National Assembly were not in attendance at the session.
He further said: “Both the inauguration and the elections of President of the Senate, the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker were accepted by your party and heaven did not fall.
“In fact, what is happening in Edo State House of Assembly is exactly what happened during your time in the 8th National Assembly against living your inauguration
“The proclamation made by the Edo State Governor under Section 105(3) was valid and remain valid. It is only the court of law that can declare the said proclamation valid or invalid.
“I also observed your most respected House of Representatives referred copiously to the Supreme Court judgement in Ladoja’s case in Oyo State, was a precedent for you to declared that the hour of the inauguration of Edo State House of Assembly was irregular.
“Edo State House of Assembly at present is functioning properly, and in fact, has gone to court to challenge the action of the 16 elected members who were not present at the inauguration, who in fact were not yet members of the Edo State House of Assembly, because, they have not been sworn in by the elected Speaker of the House.
“I understand and you are aware that the Edo State House of Assembly has taken the other members yet to be sworn into court, and get a court injunction, preventing the IGP and the Director of DSS not to interfere with the affairs of Edo State House of Assembly.
“Yet, you are directing the IGP to seal up the Edo State House of Assembly in contravention of the court order.”
Clark admonished that the National Assembly as always as a matter of practice refrained from discussing the matter that was already been dealt with by Court of law
Therefore, he stated: “Mr Speaker from the foregoing, I strongly advice you to retract your decision to shut-down the Edo State House of Assembly, asking the Governor to rescind his proclamation and to issue a new one.
“Your action is definitely against the provision of the Constitution under which you took an illegal and wrong decision, and is now creating more crisis in Edo State.
“It is now already creating disagreement between the House and the Senate. It is also affecting the relationship between the Edo State Executive Governor and the APC National leader, and is still spreading.