The governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki has said that the takeover of the State House of Assembly complex was an attempted coup d’état and tantamount to treason.
Security agencies on Thursday invaded the Edo State House of Assembly complex.
While the security men were still occupying the assembly, 14 members-elect of the house and three others, making them 17, reportedly met somewhere in the state, impeached the speaker and and elected a new speaker.
The supposedly impeached speaker, Frank Okiye has since described his purported removal by some members of the House as a non-issue.
Meanwhile, speaking on the development during a state-wide broadcast on Friday, Obaseki threatened that “any person or group of persons who set out to test our will in this regard will meet with the full wrath of the law.”
Speaking further he said, “These events portend grave danger to the safety and security of our polity. It had all the hallmarks of an attempted coup d’état.
“The people of Edo State rose as one to prevent the desecration of our democracy. It is, however, worrisome that certain persons are willing to plunge the society into avoidable anarchy and conflict just to satisfy their illegitimate objectives.”
On the assembly crisis, Obaseki said the trouble started on June 17, 2019, when upon his proclamation of the 7th Edo State House of Assembly, some members-elect refused to present themselves for the inauguration.
He noted that a Federal High Court in Port Harcourt, Rivers State had in a ruling delivered on September 12, 2019, held that his proclamation of the House of Assembly was lawful.
He added that the court held that the National Assembly had no power to take over the function of the Edo State House of Assembly, as the conditions for doing so do not exist.
He said, “The court judgement affirmed that the Assembly was duly inaugurated and held that the governor or any other person could not issue another proclamation.
“Even after this judgement, the 14 members-elect stayed away from the House and refused to be inaugurated to perform their elected role of representing their constituencies.
“Having failed to sit for over 180 sitting days, the leadership of the House of Assembly had no option but to declare their seats vacant and requested the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct fresh elections to fill the vacancies that had then been created.”
According to the governor, sequel to the action by the leadership of the House, the 14 members-elect approached a Federal High Court in Abuja to challenge the constitutionality or otherwise of the declaration of their seats vacant.
He said that while the suit was still pending in the court that the situation got festered due to a former governor of the state insistence on throwing Edo into crisis ahead of the September 19 governorship election.
He commended the people of the state for thwarting alleged “evil plans of undemocratic elements in Edo.
Retreating that the Thursday events in the state portend grave danger to the safety and security of our polity, Obaseki maintained that the events
“had all the hallmarks of an attempted coup d’état”.
He added,“It is, however, worrisome that certain persons are willing to plunge the society into avoidable anarchy and conflict just to satisfy their illegitimate objectives. These acts are tantamount to treason, contrary to the provisions of the Nigerian Constitution”.
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