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Edo Legislative Drama: We are Vindicated – Idahagbon, convener, Edo Peoples Movement

Henry Idahagbon, convener of Edo People’s Movement, EPM, and former attorney-general and commissioner for justice in the state, reacts to the House of Representatives resolutions on the crisis that has rendered the troubled Edo State House of Assembly comatose. In this interview with Adekunbi Ero, executive editor, he explains the implications of the National Assembly taking over the functions of the state legislature.

The House of Representatives ad-hoc committee on the crisis rocking the Edo State House of Assembly has directed that the House should be sealed up by the police and that the functions of the House would be taken over by the National Assembly until the situation returns to normal. How would you react to this development?   

Yes, that’s the position of the House of Representatives and we welcome it.

But the senate is also carrying out its own investigation. Are they not supposed to work together and harmonise their positions?

There can be no problem about that. They are going to harmonise their positions, but be rest assured that they will toe the same line like the House of Reps. The facts of the matter are the same.

The Okiye-led house is faulting the resolutions of the House of Reps on the premise that there is a subsisting court order which has not been vacated. What’s your view on that?

Yes, but the subsisting court order is not binding on the National Assembly because they were not made parties to the case. If they wanted the National Assembly to be bound by the court order, they should have added the National Assembly. Haven not added the National Assembly, the National Assembly is not bound by the court order. It’s elementary law; that is not something for argument. They went to Federal High Court yesterday (Tuesday July 16) to try and get an order to now restrain the National Assembly but it was too late. They wanted to now sue the National Assembly – Senate and House of Representatives but it was too late. And in any case, in law, you cannot even restrain the National Assembly from doing their job. So, he has to now comply or defy the National Assembly and I pray he defies them.

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What if he now decides to move his own faction of lawmakers to the Government House to continue to sit?

The National Assembly will take over the legislative functions for Edo State in line with the provisions of the constitution. Anything that has to do with Edo State House of Assembly now would be done by the House of Representatives. If you want to pass budget, you will send it to them in Abuja and go and defend it there. If you want any law passed, you will send it to them. That is the meaning of taking over under section 11 of the constitution.

Oshiomhole is being accused of using his influence to oppress the other camp. How do you react to this?

Oshiomhole is not involved in this at all. They like to drag Oshiomhole in. Oshiomhole has already said what is happening in Edo State is like a buzzing mosquito in one’s ear.  The man has many things to contend with, not with Edo wahala. So, Oshiomhole is not involved in this. This is Obaseki versus Obaseki; Obaseki the dictator against democracy. Oshiomhole is not involved in this at all. Of course he has a name with a brand so it is easy for them to drag his name into it, but I can tell you he’s not involved. It is Obaseki against Obaseki; or at best, it is Obaseki the dictator against Edo People’s Movement. We the progressives, the democrats; we are the progressives in Edo APC. We are happy; we are going to celebrate it today. We are vindicated.  We told them, they didn’t listen. Next time when we talk, they should listen.

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