Politics

Court says National Assembly lacks power to instruct Governor Obaseki

Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State

Justice Kolawole Omotosho of the Federal High Court in Port Harcourt has ruled that the National Assembly cannot take over the functions of the Edo State House of Assembly or any other State House of Assembly in Nigeria.

The judgement came following the application filed by the Deputy Speaker of the Edo House of Assembly seeking to stop the National Assembly from taking over the function of the state assembly.

The court also ruled that the National Assembly does not have the power to instruct the Governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki, to issue fresh proclamation to the state assembly.

According to the judge, issuing fresh proclamation would lead to the extension of the tenure of the lawmakers in the state.

He noted that Nigeria is a federal state and state governments are autonomous, consequently, the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, and the House Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, must treat it as such.

Read Justice Omotosho’s ruling against the National Assembly below;

“There is nothing before the court showing that the Edo State House of Assembly is unable to sit. Some elected members have been inaugurated. The House has been carrying out its legislative duties.

“The National Assembly lacks the power to take over the Edo State House of Assembly. It amounts to taking over the functions of the Edo State House of Assembly. The House of Assembly is not an appendage of the National Assembly.

“The National Assembly lacks the power to seal-up or direct anybody to seal-up up the Edo State House of Assembly. The Nigerian Constitution is a federal constitution and National Assembly cannot unilaterally decide that Edo State House of Assembly is in crisis and seal-up same.

“It is only a court of law that has the power to make findings, particularly after listening to parties, to decide the National Assembly can take over a House of Assembly.

“I hold that it is the court that has the power to define and hold that Edo State House of Assembly cannot function and the National Assembly can take over.

“As far as the law is concerned, the Governor of Edo State has given a proclamation. The National Assembly has no power to direct the governor to issue a fresh proclamation. The governor is the Chief Executive of the state and cannot be controlled by the National Assembly.

“The court will be extending the tenure of members of the Edo State House of Assembly if it holds that the governor should issue fresh proclamation. Nigeria is a federal state and state governments are autonomous. Our political actors must see it like that and treat as such.”

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