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‘Sitting of Edo Assembly outside premises is nullity’

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The purported sitting last Thursday of 17 members of Edo State House of Assembly outside the Assembly premises is a nullity, according to Abeny Mohammed (SAN).

Mohammed, a human rights lawyer, in a chat with The Guardian in Ilorin, cited the Supreme Court decision in the case of Olakoju, describing any legislative assembly outside the premises of the House as null and void. He said since the concerned lawmakers had allegedly submitted themselves to the decisions of the law court by taking their matters before the court of competent jurisdiction, the onus was on them to allow for judicial pronouncements rather than resorting to self help.

Mohammed canvassed restraints from any form of violence ahead, during and after the Edo State governorship polls slated for September 19 this year, noting that people’s will remains the hallmark of a viable democracy.

Another lawyer, Goddy Uwazurike, said Edo was about to experience what Ekiti State suffered during the last governorship election, adding: “Yesterday (Thursday) 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, barricaded the House of Assembly. The federal controlled press quickly accorded the actions legitimacy.

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He explained further: “To be a legislator, one has to contest and win as a party sponsored person. 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 four years. The Clerk conducts election of the Speaker and the Deputy. They are sworn in. Ditto the legislators-elect.

“This constitution we are practising directs us every step of the way. So, what took place on Thursday was a tragic comedy of Shakespearean proportion.”

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