*describes emergence of Edo, Bauchi Speakers as illegal, nonsensical
By; SUNDAY ODE, Abuja
National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole, has challenged those accusing him of attempting to sustain the culture of godgathetism in Edo State to prove their allegation.
Oshiomhole, a former governor of Edo state, was noted to have vigorously fought the godfather phenomenon in the state , but had been accused in the past weeks of desperate attempt to step into the shoes of late Anthony Aninih whom he dismantled as a godfather.
Specifically, accusing fingers are being pointed at the APC national chairman for being the mastermind of the current controversy in the Edo State Assembly where a minority nine members conducted the election of presiding officers at a nocturnal inauguration of the house.
His accusers said he was bent on taking over control of the State Assembly by using the majority members of the house said to be loyal to him to take charge so that he could call the shot in the upcoming governorship election.
But the APC boss denied the allegations, saying the burden of proof rests squarely on the shoulders of his accusers.
Oshiomhole spoke to State House Correspondents at the Presidential Villa, Abuja at the weekend after a meeting with the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari.
Asked to respond to the allegations which have been flooding the media space, he said: “What is the evidence? It’s all about accusation. The media has a duty. They have to give you the particulars of that godfatherism. What’s the evidence? I am a democrat. That I accept the credit, not only that I fought godfatherism, I launched the one man one vote campaign to fight against election rigging anywhere in Nigeria and by the special grace of God under PDP with Anenih alive, and at his best, I won all the 18 local government areas and I won 95 percent of the total votes cast in my second term election. So, Edo people know me and I know them. I don’t need short-cut to sustain my position in the system. But you know that there is nobody in Nigeria who is not open to accusations. The important thing is that he who accuses should give you proof.”
He, however, faulted the processes for the emergence of the presiding officers in Edo and Bauchi states assemblies , describing them as illegal and nonsensical.
He urged the governors of the two states to take a cue from President Muhammadu Buhari who transparently issued a letter for the proclamation of the National Assembly despite the contention over the emergence of its leadership.
Oshiomhole called for a return to the rule of law in the two assemblies, saying that is the ultimate thing that should happen.
The Edo Assembly Speaker was voted in by only nine speakers out of 26 at 9pm, while that of Bauxhi was elected by 10 out of 30 members at about 7am.
He said: “But for the rule of law how can I be a governor physically presiding over people who are more endowed than me? But with the law on my side people take a bow because the law protects me. So it’s about rule of law. As journalists there are questions you don’t need to ask me because you know the answer. You know the law provides for how the House should be proclaimed transparently the day it’s announced, members elect are informed of date and time for inauguration. These are clearly spelt out in the Nigerian constitution.
” And just last week you were all witnesses to how President Muhammadu Buhari issued proclamation letter to the Clerk many days before stating date and time of the inauguration of the two chambers of the National Assembly. Even while we are still negotiating to ensure that our party was not divided on the floor of the House, without prejudice to the outcome of those negotiations, the President issued proclamation because he is obliged by the constitution to do so whether he likes it or not and he did. He did it transparently. He has led us by example. For me, it’s very embarrassing if any state governor, particularly of APC extraction, will do anything that is less than what the constitution says and the example that our President has set.
“So, you know that what happened in Edo was that they did not publicize a proclamation letter, the members were not informed, they did the inauguration at 9:30 pm in what in a Supreme Court judgement they call nocturnal hours. Business of parliament are done transparently; they are not secret cult. Now you have 24 member House, 19 members protested. You have 6 and you carry people in their short knickers, even in the House they have rules, the dress code. So, it happened in Edo, it has happened in Bauchi. Like Edo, Bauchi used the minority of 10 to go and proclaim the House and lock out 20 APC members and got those 10 people to elect, exactly the way Edo did with 6 and then coopted other 3 people to become nine and even at that it is nonsense. For us these are completely illegal. And that is why we said so. If it is wrong, it is wrong whether it is done by APC or by PDP; whether is the Chairman’s state or not. The law is blind to those sentiments. I believe by the end of the day, the solution is return to the rule of law. Let’s properly follow the law; let the parliament do what they have to do but people have the right to lobby for people they want and whom they prefer. This is also legitimate.
” Like you saw in the National Assembly, after all the lobbies people have the right to vote and you saw them in the National Assembly conducting secret ballot. We have an APC Senator, who in spite of all the efforts invested by all our leaders including Mr. President, insisted that he will contest. The law allowed him so, we couldn’t stop him. The President could have said ok SSS please find excuse to invite him for questioning the day before; put him away until the elections are over. But we won’t do that. That is not the change we promised. The change we promised is to try to improve in the ways public institutions are managed and how rules are implement. I believe that it will be resolved.”