Obaseki describes Edo assembly invasion as an attempted coup d’etat tantamount to treason
He said this in a state-wide broadcast on Friday.
The governor while giving an assurance that his administration would take all steps necessary to defend the rule of law and democratic ideals said, “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,” the governor warned.
He added, “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.”
Governor Obaseki said the crisis in the state legislature dated back to 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 explained that a Federal High Court in Port Harcourt, Rivers State had in a judgement delivered on September 12, 2019, held that his proclamation of the House of Assembly was lawful.
According to the governor, the court ruled that the National Assembly cannot take over the function of the Edo State House of Assembly, as the conditions for doing so do not exist.
“The court judgement affirmed that the Assembly was duly inaugurated and held that the governor or any other person could not issue another proclamation,” he said.
Governor Obaseki stated, “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.”
The governor noted that following 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 alleged that while the suit was still pending in the court, the situation has festered because a former governor of the state was bent on throwing Edo into crisis ahead of the forthcoming governorship election.
Governor Obaseki, however, commended the resolve of the people in standing up to thwart what he described as the evil plans of undemocratic elements committed to perpetrating illegal assault on democracy.