Obaseki’s action an assault on constitutional democracy, rule of law, says Tinubu
Former governor of Lagos State and All Progressive Congress (APC) national leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has described the recent actions of Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki as the gravest possible assault on constitutional democracy and rule of law and escalation of violence and tension in the state he purports to govern.
Tinubu, in a statement, yesterday, stated Obaseki, not satisfied with making a mockery of the country’s constitution by blocking the timely inauguration of two-thirds of the elected members of the state House of Assembly, resorted to the strong-arm tactics of dictatorship.
He said: “First, he sponsored hoodlums to deface, indeed destroy parts of the 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 swore 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 Assembly to function, 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.”
The APC leader further stated that Obaseki’s governance recalls the worst excesses of military past and represents a direct threat to the democratic order, adding that his refusal to permit duly elected members of the Assembly to perform their constitutional duties 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 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 society has agreed to live,” Tinubu stated.
He noted that in the context of a constitutional democracy, such as Nigeria, 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.
“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, Obaseki not only places himself above 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.”The APC leader concluded that the rule of law and preservation of democracy is too important to sacrifice at the altar of any one man’s ambition.
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