NASS meddlesomeness creating anarchy in Edo ― Clark
Following the resolution by the Senate directing Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo state to issue a fresh proclamation for the commencement of business of state house of assembly, elder statesman, Chief Edwin Clark, has warned that the National Assembly’s meddlesomeness in the affair of the legislature was causing anarchy in the state.
In open letter to Senate President, Ahmad Lawan made available to the media in Abuja on Thursday, Clark maintained that the Edo House of Assembly was functioning, saying the National Assembly’s intervention did not, therefore, meet the constitutional threshold for such intervention.
The prominent South South leader, had previously written an open letter to the Speaker of the House of Representatives over a similar move by the lower chamber of the National Assembly.
He said: “Rather than abate, it appears that the House of Representatives went on to recruit, the Senate, or that the Red Chambers saw a competitive angle in the matter and plunge in, head first, eyes closed, to complement the House of Representatives in the perverse onslaught in the Edo State governance structure.
“The Senate seems not aware of, or is too possessed of a mindset that blinds it against the many Provisions in the Constitution that supersede the mere fact that the two components of the National Assembly working in tandem, on the Edo State Project.”
Citing the grounds on which the National Assembly could only intervene in the affairs of the state legislature, the one-time minister, drew Lawan’s attention to the provisions of Section 11 (4) of the Nigerian constitution, Clark stated: “For goodness sake, the situation in the Edo State House of Assembly does not even look like it is pointing in that direction. Section 101 allows every Legislature to adopt its own rules.”
On the National Assembly’s demand for Governor Obaseki to issue a fresh Proclamation, he pointed out that Section 105 (3) rests exclusive prerogative of that function squarely with the Governor.
The Ijaw leader maintained: “It is unconstitutional and wrong for the National Assembly to “order, direct” the Edo State Governor to issue a fresh proclamation. Section 3 places such activity squarely on the Exclusive List while recalling the circumstances leading to the selection of the principal officers of the 8th National Assembly, which he said were like the Edo case.
He further said: “What is happening in Edo State House of Assembly is exactly what happened during your time in the 8th National Assembly.
“Another bizarre footnote on this National Assembly crusade against the Edo State House Assembly, and, by extension, the State Governor, is the sickening shutting of eyes and ears in the provisions that concern the relationship of the checks and balances roles of the Three Arms of Government.
“In so doing, the National Assembly gravely insults the Judiciary and the Constitution, itself, which gives the role that it is striving to play, ingloriously, exclusively to the Judiciary.”
Furthermore, he said: “The National Assembly as always as a matter of practice has refrained from discussing matters that have already been dealt with by Court of Law and this is adequately provided in its Rules.
I am also aware that the Governor of Edo State, His Excellency, Mr Godwin Obaseki, has taken an action on this issue in a Court where a Vacation Judge is sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
“Perhaps, the National Assembly is this time driven by motives other than those provided for by the Constitution, in its decision to take over the functions of the Edo State House of Assembly without the necessary conditions required by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
“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 were not been sworn in by the elected Speaker of the House,” he declared.
Clark, therefore, appealed to the Senate President and its members of the Senate to “disembark from this unconstitutional quest on the Nigerian boat, before the situation gets out of control.”