Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, has said he lacked the power to bring back 14 state House of Assembly lawmakers yet to be inaugurated.
A statement quoted Obaseki as stating this in an interview with newsmen when he paid a thank-you visit to the National Working Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Abuja on Monday.
Obaseki explained that the 14 lawmakers “refused to be inaugurated”.
He said, “They were listening to their godfather who kept hoping and promising that he would unconstitutionally get the state House of Assembly to reissue a proclamation even after the court had settled the matter.
“For more than 180 days they did not come. They refused to represent the people. Those seats became vacant; that’s what the constitution says.
“They went to court after the seats were declared vacant by the Speaker. There is nothing I can do to that at this time.
“I wish it did not happen but people were playing God and promising what is not constitutionally possible.
“It is not about me. I am an elected governor of Edo. I am not one that planted people into the house of Assembly.
“They, on their own, operated the rules the way it should be, the seats are now vacant.
“We should learn that democracy is underpinned by the constitution and the law.
“Even if I wanted today to bring them back, I don’t have such powers.
“I do not have anything against them because I do not have such authority to bring them back to the house.”
The crisis in the Edo State House of Assembly began when it was inaugurated under controversial circumstances at night with only nine, out of 24 lawmakers-elect, on June 17, 2019, following an alleged proclamation by the governor.
The lawmakers, who were not part of the process, as well as the APC, rejected the process and called on the governor to issue a fresh proclamation.
However, a Federal High Court in Rivers State barred the governor from doing so. A separate court also barred the National Assembly from taking over the Edo Assembly.
This worsened the crisis within the APC in the state and deepened the feud between Obaseki and his predecessor, Adams Oshiomhole, who was also the National Chairman of the APC.
The governor was believed to have orchestrated the suspension of Oshiomhole from the party at the ward level. In retaliation, Oshiomhole ensured that Obaseki did not clinch the governorship ticket of the APC and Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu emerged as the winner of the primary.
The crisis in the Edo State chapter of the APC and the multiple court rulings on Oshiomhole’s suspension snowballed into a national crisis that culminated in President Muhammadu Buhari dissolving the National Working Committee of the APC causing Oshiomhole to lose his position.
An attempt by the aggrieved lawmakers to be inaugurated was, however, scuttled by men claiming to be renovating the Assembly complex.
However, the APC claimed the men were thugs hired by the governor who was afraid of being impeached.