By Goddy Uwazuruike
YESTERDAY was the first tentative step. Men who were not legislators (not sworn in in accordance with the constitution) met in a private home, swore themselves in, elected new officers after impeaching the existing ones, and adjourned to today.
In the meantime, police that cannot give protection from the kidnappers in Edo state barricaded the House of Assembly. The federally controlled press quickly accorded the legitimacy of the actions. More developments are unfolding. News is Obaseki vs Oshiomole. Where is IzeIyamu?
Now my take.
- To be a legislator, one has to contest and win as a party sponsored person.
2. On a date fixed by the clerk of the House, the legislator elect presents his certificate of return to the clerk for admission into the house.
- The Governor proclaims the commencement of the legislature for 4 years.
4. The Clerk conducts the election of the speaker and the deputy.
They are sworn in. Ditto the legislators elect.
- This constitution we are practicing directs us every step of the way.
So what took place in Edo State was a tragic comedy of Shakespearean proportion.
Ladoja had a running battle with his godfather, Adedibu in Oyo state, just like Obaseki is having with Oshomole.
Lamidi got the some legislators to sit outside the house to impeach Gov. Ladoja. They successfully removed the governor.
The Supreme Court declared the whole exercise a charade, null and void as the legislature can only sit in the House. So yesterday’s sitting has already been decided by the Supreme Court.
Lalong’s case is different because those who declared their seats vacant were existing members of the House. Those who took part in the proceedings were elected but not sworn in. Besides, their seats were already declared vacant by the Edo Legislature. One cannot perform the functions of a legislator if the person is not one.
The comic presence of the police is akin to what happened in Ekiti state under Fayose. Radio and TV locked down, government house under siege. Osun Radio and TV broadcasting full blast into Ekiti in favour of APC.
INEC, on cue, threatens to cancel the elections. Just like the PH experiment.
Amaechi and Oshomole have 3 things in common. Governor for 8 years, Abuja posts and refusing to move on in life. To them, it is either the state obeys them or there will be war. .Who will bear the brunt? The people.
Now, I am aware of the situation in Edo on the number of people who are seeking to justify what the Legislators elect did yesterday. My advice is to follow the constitution.
Finally, Edo maybe like Rivers state, Tit for tat. Edo may not be Ekiti or Lagos!!!
[8/7, 12:09 PM] Goddy Uwazuruike: *HON. MUYIWA INAKOJU & ORS V. HON. ABRAHAM ADEOLU ADELEKE (SPEAKER) & ORS 74 Niki Tobi JSC said:*
“It appears to me from the intention of the Constitution that the House of Assembly will sit in the building provided for it and for that purpose. By the provision of Section 104 of the Constitution, the House shall sit for a period of not less than one hundred and eighty-one days in a year. By Section 108(1), the Governor of a State may attend a meeting of the House of Assembly either to deliver an address on State affairs or to make such a statement on the policy of the government as he may consider being of importance to the State.
“In my humble view, a community reading of the two sections shows that the intention of the Constitution is to make the House of Assembly sitting physically in the building provided, for that purpose. If I am wrong and the appellants are right. It will then mean that the Governor has to move to a Hotel to address the members anytime the House sits there and he wants to take advantage of Section 108. Can that be the intention of the makers of the Constitution? Will that not be ridiculous?
In Akintola v. Aderemi (1962) All NLR 442 at 443, (1962) 2 SCNLR 139, it was held that anything was done outside the House of Assembly to remove the Governor of the old Western Region was/is a nullity. The Governor is elected by the people – the electorate. The procedure and the proceedings leading to his removal should be available to any willing eyes. And this, the public will see watching from the gallery. It should not be a hidden affair in a hotel room.
A Legislature is not a secret organisation or a secret cult or fraternity where things are done in utmost secrecy in the recess of a hotel. On the contrary, a Legislature is a public institution, built mostly on public property to the glare and visibility of the public. As a democratic institution, operating in a democracy, the actions and inactions of a House of Assembly are subject to public judgment and public opinion. The public nature and content of the Legislature are emphasised by the gallery where members of the public sit to watch the proceedings. Although I concede the point that a Legislature has the right to clear the gallery in certain deliberations for security reasons. I do not think proceedings for the removal of a Governor should be hidden from the public.
I want to ask a few questions on the mace. Was the mace at the D’ Rovans Hotel? If it was there, was that the proper place? If it was not there, can parliamentary decisions be taken constitutionally without the mace? If the mace was there, who carried it? Was the sergeant-at-arms there? I have still one or two more questions to ask about the D’Rovans Hotel meeting, but I think I should stop here.
As there is no evidence when the meeting was held, I shall not go there. But I should say here that proceedings of a House of Assembly should be held in parliamentary hours. This is the period the Rules have provided that the House should sit. On no account should proceedings of a House be held in unparliamentary hours, that is, during the period not provided for in the Rules. For instance, a House of Assembly has no business to perform in the odd hours of midnight or in the early hours of the morning before the parliamentary hours prescribed by the Rules.
Section 188(2) clearly provides for a notice of allegation which must be presented to the Speaker for action within 7 days of his receipt of the notice.
Who received the Section 188(2) notice as the Speaker was not in the D’Rovans Hotel meeting? Can a notice of allegation not presented within the provision of Section 188(2) be constitutional?”
Aug. 11, 2020 | 11:20