The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Edo state has noted the assumption of magical and supernatural powers by Governor Obaseki in his constitution of a committee “to reconcile members-elect in the Edo State House of Assembly”.
Our party points out that there is nowhere in our laws and lexicon where persons who have not reported for duty, whose seats in the assembly have been declared vacant and the constituencies deemed unrepresented can be referred to as members-elect.
The constitution by the Governor of a “reconciliation committee” has brought serious confusion to the polity regarding the legality or otherwise of this committee especially as;
- The embattled 14 ex-House of Assembly members-elect had, on December 12, 2019, approached the court, seeking an order of interim injunction restraining the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from conducting by-elections in respect of their seats declared vacant by the speaker on December 4, 2019, pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice dated December 10, 2019.
- The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has approached the Federal High Court, Abuja, seeking an order to join the party as defendant in the suit brought by the aggrieved 14 ex-House of Assembly members-elect.
- Edo PDP through its lawyer, Barbara Omosun, in suit number: FHC/ABJ//CS/1582/2019, told Justice Ahmed Mohammed that as a registered political party, it was entitled to field candidates in the seats declared vacant by the Speaker of the States House of Assembly.
- PDP argued that the Assembly was duly proclaimed on June 17, 2019, a position that has always been held and canvassed by Governor Obaseki and his party APC following the proclamation letter to the effect by Gov. Godwin Obaseki.
- PDP rights and interest might be adversely affected by the court’s decision hence we joined the suit as soon as we became aware of it.
- The judge adjourned till April 21 for hearing of the filed motions.
It is pertinent to remind the Governor that they have ceased to be referred to, or described as lawmakers-elect or lawmakers. The speaker declared their seats vacant. The Governor should know that the seats are no longer available to them. The Edo State House of Assembly is not a property of APC neither are the constituency seats bargaining tools in their political bartering.
Those 14 seats belong to PDP candidates who have rightly approached the courts and argued that the refusal/neglect to subscribe to the oath of Membership/Allegiance with respect to the affected constituencies throughout the first session and first quarter of the 7th Assembly of Edo State amounts, to abdication of office. We can’t reconcile why the Governor thinks a committee can get involved at this time. Frankly Your Excellency, that ship has sailed.
Chris Osa Nehikhare
SPS PDP EDO STATE