Edo Crisis: Clark Faults Senate Over Edo Assembly Crisis

Former Federal Commissioner for Information Chief Edwin Clark has disagreed with the Senate over its position on the Edo State Assembly crisis.

The Ijaw leader claimed that the directive to Edo State governor, Godwin Obaseki by the Senate to issue a fresh proclamation was unconstitutional and wrong.

He therefore warned the National Assembly against creating anarchy in the state.

This is the second time the elder statesman would be reacting to the position of the National Assembly.

Only last week he wrote to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila to rescind his directive to Edo governor to issue a fresh proclamation.

The case is currently before a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja.

Clark in his latest letter to the Senate President, Hassan Lawan stated that section 101 of the constitution allows every Legislature to adopt its own house rules.

He therefore pointed out that the situation in Edo has not gotten to one in which the National Assembly will invoke the constitution.

Besides, the aged lawyer also disagreed with the Senate concerning the issue of the Governor’s Proclamation of the commencement of the Legislature Term, saying that Section 105 (3) rests exclusive prerogative of that function squarely with the Governor.

Consequently, he said the Senate was totally wrong to have directed the governor to issue a fresh proclamation after the first one.

He stated, “I stressed the issue of the inability of the House to function as a sine qua non, defeating any pretence of the House of Representatives to interfere.

“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.

“For further stress, and the avoidance of any doubt, I ask the National Assembly to take into serious consideration, Section 11 (4), which states  “At any time when any House of Assembly of a State is unable to perform its functions by reasons of the situation prevailing in that State, the National Assembly may make such laws for the peace, order peace, order and good government of that State with respect to matters on which a House of Assembly may make laws as may appear to the national Assembly to be necessary or expedient until such time as the House of Assembly is able to resume its functions; and any such laws enacted by the National Assembly pursuant to this section shall have effect as if they were laws enacted by the House of Assembly of the State:

“Provided that nothing in this section shall be construed as conferring on the National Assembly power to remove the Governor or the Deputy Governor of the State from office.

“Also, Section 11(5) states that, ‘For the purposes of sub-section (4) of this section, a House of Assembly shall not be deemed to be unable to perform its functions so long as the House of Assembly can hold a meeting and transact business’.

“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. As concerning the issue of the Governor’s Proclamation of the commencement of the Legislature Term, indeed, Section 105 (3) rests exclusive prerogative of that function squarely with the Governor. It states that “Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, the person elected as the Governor of a State shall have power to issue a proclamation for the holding of the first session of the House of Assembly of the State concerned immediately after being sworn in, or for its dissolution as provided in this Section.

“It is unconstitutional and wrong for the National Assembly to ‘order, direct’ the Edo State Governor to issue a fresh proclamation.” 

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