The Attorney General of the Federal, Abubakar Malami (SAN), has ordered the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, to provide security for the inauguration of the 14-members-elect and three other members of the Edo State House of Assembly who are plotting a coup against the current leadership of the Assembly.
In the letter with reference number HAGF/IGP/2020/VOL.1/4, the AGF said; “In view of the foregoing and in order to ensure constitutional compliance with the dictates of Sections 91 – 96 of the 1999 Constitution (as altered) and also to prevent breakdown of peace, law and order, I am requesting that you kindly provide adequate security measures for the purpose of the inauguration of the concerned members and the subsequent sitting of the Edo State House of Assembly.”
On Thursday the 17 lawmakers who are loyal to the All Progressives Congress and former National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, convened in an unknown location and inaugurated themselves. The oath was said to have been administered by the Edo State Assembly’s Deputy Clerk, Mr, Tom Efezokhae.
Naija Buzz News had in June 2019 reported how 9 members out of the 24 members-elect were inaugurated.
Governor Godwin Obaseki following the development revealed that his predecessor was plotting to use the other lawmakers to remove him from office.
Mr. Frank Okiye was inaugurated Speaker of the Assembly and other principal officers were inaugurated from the 9 members loyal to Obaseki.
Okiye later declared the seats of the other lawmakers who were not inaugurated vacant.
The 17 members however after Thursday’s sitting inaugurated themselves and impeached Okiye and his deputy, Rolland Asoro. They also elected a new speaker, Victor Edoror.
Pro-Oshiomhole lawmakers who pledged support for APC candidate Ize-Iyamu, got AGF Malami’s immediate support
The 14 elected members who were not sworn-in in 2019 and three others loyal to Oshiomhole, in a letter to the AGF through their counsel, Dr. Ehiogie West-Idahosa of West Idahosa & Co., said that Governor Obaseki’s action in not allowing them to be sworn in was unconstitutional.
The aggrieved lawmakers in their letter with reference number WIC/AB/W2/1024/20 noted that contrary to the normal practice of inaugurating the House with all members present, Obaseki chose to ensure member loyal to him were inaugurated at an odd hour of the night.
The 17 Pro-Oshiomhole lawmakers noted that Obaseki dumped the APC for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) even when there was no nationally acknowledge faction in the APC.
Their letter dated August 3, 2020, titled ‘Urgent and nationalistic appeal to intervene in the restoration of constitutional democracy in Edo State of Nigeria’, to Malami reads below in parts;
“Since then, the Assembly has been run by nine members for no justifiable reason whatsoever. By failing to inaugurate about 14 members-elect of the House, there is a huge social and political disequilibrium in the state.
“The rule of law has been seriously eroded and replaced by strong-arm tactics in Edo State. This in itself is anti-democratic and ought not to be allowed in a democratic government such as the one operated in Nigeria.
“Over 60 per cent of the population of Edo State are unrepresented in the House of Assembly and are therefore missing out on constituency projects, employment and other forms of government patronage. This has escalated poverty levels in such constituencies and there is a corresponding increase in crime and general insecurity in such areas.”
“It is undemocratic and unacceptable to any sovereign nation that the House of Assembly of one of the states making up the federation of Nigeria is operated by only seven members out of the 24 elected.”
The lawmakers noted that it was legal to allow other members who had not been inaugurated to take their oath and be allowed to carry out their duties in the interest of justice. Adding that “there is no feature of the law which precludes the said honourable members from taking their oath with the cooperation of sworn in members and the clerk of the House.”
“We therefore respectfully appeal to you as the Chief Law Officer of the federation to invoke your power pursuant to Section 150 of the 1999 constitution (as altered) to arrest the breakdown of constitutional democracy in Edo State by intervening to restore a functional House of Assembly in line with the provisions of Sections 90, 91, 101 and 104 of the 1999 constitution (as altered). Our clients shall be very obliged to have your intervention in order to save constitutional democracy in Edo State.”
The lawmakers who pledged to support the candidate of the APC, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, in the forthcoming Edo Governorship Election, got the support of the AGF who immediately directed the police to ensure they were inaugurated.
United States expresses concern over security agencies interference ahead of Edo election
The United States has expressed concern over the political development in Edo State. The US stated that it was disappointed with the role played by some political heavyweights in Edo.
The US in a statement in Abuja on Friday titled ‘The United States supports democratic process where the will of Nigerian people is reflected in results,’ said it was concerned by allegations of interference by security forces in political matters, adding that it would continue to monitor the situation closely in the run-up to the election.
“We are especially concerned by allegations of interference by security forces in political matters, which we will continue to monitor closely in the run-up to gubernatorial elections in the state in September. As we approach the 2020 off-cycle elections in Edo and Ondo, we urge all stakeholders to work towards a free, fair, transparent, and peaceful process,” the statement read in part.
Ogbodo ThankGod is currently the Managing Director/CEO/Group Chief Editor at Naija Buzz News Network. He was the Chief Editor at NaijaBuzz.News before his new top leadership role. Ogbodo has years of experience in the Nigeria Media Industry and has co-founded some media companies. He is the founder of Ogbodo Solution Nigeria and 1Push.Ng. He loves playing football and is a strong supporter of Lionel Messi who he describes as the greatest footballer of all time.