*** says governor is resorting to ‘strong-arm tactics of dictators’
Former Governor of Lagos State and National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) on Friday accused Governor Godwin Obaseki of being the central mastermind of the crisis rocking the House of Assembly in the South-South State.
He said while the governor has resorted to the “strong-arm tactics of dictators”, he continued to point accusing fingers on innocent persons in a bid to redirect attention to other places.
In a statement he personally signed titled “IN DEFENCE OF CONSTITUTIONAL DEMOCRACY”, the APC leader said the governor’s action “represent the gravest possible assault on constitutional democracy and the rule of law and escalation of violence and tension in the state he purports to govern.”
Tinubu who reacted to the unfolding political development in the state, especially the blockade of the House of Assembly and removal of its roof ostensibly for repairs said Obaseki had been consistent in thwarting the democratic aspirations of the very people he claims to govern, urging him to retrace his steps become it becomes late.
“Not satisfied with making a mockery of our constitution by blocking the timely inauguration of two-thirds of the elected members of the Edo State House of Assembly, Governor Obaseki has now resorted to the strong-arm tactics of dictators.
“First, he sponsors hoodlums to deface, indeed destroy, parts of the House of Assembly Building in Benin, feigning the building is undergoing renovation.
“Then, he imports sand and gravels to prevent access to the assembly complex. In effect, the man has spent state funds to thwart the very apparatus of the state government he was sworn to uphold. He has squandered public money to defeat the very will of the public. This is tragic beyond words.
“As a pretext for his refusal to allow the Edo House of Assembly to function, Governor Obaseki’s actions are perverse. This is a cowardly act and a move to thwart representative democracy in Edo.
“No renovation has been planned for the state house building. No appropriation was made in the state’s budget. The only reason any renovation could be deemed necessary is the destruction wrought by his own goons.
“Governor Obaseki’s governance of Edo State recalls the worst excesses of our military past and represents a direct threat to the democratic order.
“By his refusal to permit duly elected members of the Edo State House of Assembly to perform their constitutional duties, Governor Obaseki betrayed contempt for the people of his state and, unfortunately, his ignorance of Nigeria’s constitutional order. As a Governor he ought to know better than to obstruct the functioning of his own legislature, but perhaps he is in need of a quick lesson.
“The legislative function is, perhaps, the most foundational obligation of any government. In the UK, the Parliament was famously said to be “that supreme and absolute power, which gives life and motion to the English government”. In most democratic systems, the legislature is the arm of government containing within itself the people’s representatives in government. As such, the legislative arm is critical. It is an important symbol of democratic governance. The voice, will and desires of the people are reposed in their elected representatives sent to the legislature to express and distil their amorphous will into the laws and codes by which the society has agreed to live.
“In the context of a constitutional democracy such as ours, the legislature’s authority stems, in effect, from the recognition that it is the authentic mouthpiece of the people, entrusted with the responsibility of representing their collective will and the power to interpret and mould it into the laws of the land. It is, in short, not to be toyed with as a plaything of an errant and ill-disciplined governor. Undermine the legislature and you imperil democracy and allow governance to descend into anarchy.”
Continuing, Tinubu said: “Indeed, it is no coincidence that of the three arms of government, the powers of the legislature are enumerated first, in our Constitution. The legislature is the authority imbued with the power to make laws for the peace, order and good governance of the federation and states. Indeed, the Constitution makes clear that a Governor’s role primarily extends to the maintenance and implementation of the laws set down for him by his state’s legislature.
“In placing himself above the legislature, deciding who gets in and who is shut out, Governor Obaseki not only places himself above the our nation’s constitutional order, he places himself above the people of Edo State whose representatives he so brazenly tramples upon.
“One can only wonder, given the desperation with which he has acted and his belligerent refusal to honour the free choice of the people of his own state, what mortal offence the majority members he has shut out have committed to warrant such treatment.
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