Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State says the warlike approach of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to the Edo State election is posing a very serious threat to the survival of democracy in Nigeria.
Wike who is also the Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) National Campaign Council for Edo Governorship Election warns, ‘’ours is still a fragile democracy.’’
While urging Nigerians to hold the APC and its candidate responsible if there is a breakdown of law and order in Edo, he adds, ‘’we are calling on President Muhammadu Buhari and the international community to prevail on the APC to stop the needless violence, play the game by the rules and allow the people of Edo to freely elect their governor.’’
Governor Wike said PDP had raised the alarm that the APC was not ready for a free and fair contest and will use violence with the backing of federal might to rig and claim unmerited victory.
The campaign council has therefore condemned an alleged illegal invasion of Edo State House of Assembly by political thugs of the APC, describing the purported impeachment of the legitimately elected Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the Assembly as null and void.
But the APC governorship candidate, Osagie Ize-Iyamu, has gleefully declared that the party has wrested the legislative arm of government from Governor Godwin Obaseki with the sacking of the House Speaker on Thursday.
He said his party now has 17 members out of the 24-member legislature that has put it in total control of the legislative arm.
According to Ize-Iyamu who was speaking on the legality of APC members holding plenary outside the House of Assembly specifically in his sitting room, ‘’it is not the venue that legitimises parliamentary sessions, the members and the symbol of authority the maze, once it is in place, they can seat anywhere, they can deliberate and there are many examples to that effect.
“So what you saw (on Thursday) is that the governor left the executive arm and invaded the legislative arm and took control. There is a clear separation of powers. You have three governors here and in their state, the House of Assembly is autonomous. You don’t see the governors going there to go and operate.
“But the governor of Edo and the deputy took over the House of Assembly and vandalised the place; they said they are renovating it. Ask them, the budget that they passed including the revised one, is there a provision for the renovation of the house of Assembly? There is none.
‘’If there is no such provision how can you begin to remove the roof during the raining season if not because he has sinister motives. So that will tell you that, all what they were trying to do was to truncate legislative arm and stop them from sitting. So if anyone was doing a coup, they were the ones doing a coup against the legislative arm of government yesterday.
“And we are happy that our people have risen to it. Are you going to compare seven people to 17? In a legislative arrangement, seven people will want to lord it over 17 people? That is an aberration. I have told you that even to form a quorum you need eight, they don’t even have eight members. Two-third is 16 and these people have 17, so clearly what has been done yesterday is a triumph for democracy.
‘’And we are happy that we have made it clear that APC is in charge of Edo. The governor has temporarily carried the executive arm to the PDP, but the legislative arm is fully for APC and that we have shown yesterday.
“I must also say that in Edo State House of Assembly where you have 24 members, to even be able to form a quorum, you need eight members. But today, the group with the Governor cannot even seat because they cannot even form a quorum. But even two-third, which is needed to pass a budget is 16 and we already have 17 and more are coming. So the support base for APC is strong and increasing by the day.’’
In the meantime, Wike says ‘’an invalid assemblage of absentee lawmakers-elect with no legitimate claims to the membership of the House of Assembly cannot lawfully convene in the Ugbowu private residence of Ize-Iyamu, to effect a change of leadership in the state House of Assembly.
‘’Consequently, the purported impeachment of the Speaker and Deputy Speaker is a mere charade, completely a futile act that exists only in the imagination of the evil perpetrators and their co-travellers.
“It is now clear to all discerning minds that what is playing out in Edo State is an orchestrated script by the sinking opposition APC to intimidate the PDP and illegally impeach its candidate, Governor Godwin Obaseki, having seen clearly that they cannot win the September 19, 2020 election without any miracle.
Adding, Governor Wike said PDP will resist every attempt to unlawfully remove Governor Obaseki from office or rig the September 19, 2020, Governorship Election.