UNLESS the Inspector General of Police, Mr Hafiz Ringim restores order to the Ogun State House of Assembly in one week, the National Assembly may take over the legislative functions of the State. In its resolution on a motion over the Ogun Assembly crisis yesterday, the House of Representatives handed down a seven day ultimatum to Ringim to open the state House of Assembly as well as provide security for members of the House, under the leadership of the embattled Speaker, Mr Tunji Egbetokun to perform their constitutional duties.
In default, the House threatened that the National Assembly would “takeover, assume and exercise all the legislative powers of the Ogun State House of Assembly to make laws as the legislature thereof in accordance with section 11(4) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 until the House of Assembly is able to resume.”
Leading debate on the motion, Chairman House Committee on Rules and Business, Mr Ita Enang who jointly sponsored it with 16 other members said the continuous crisis in the Ogun State House may hamper the constitutional requirement of 181 days sitting for the legislative House, and that if the situation was allowed to thrive, may set a wrong precedence for the state legislatures.
Eight members of the House had about a month ago sat, and suspended the Speaker and 15 other members, and passed over 20 bills in 35 minutes, including approving a 100 billion Naira bond for the state government. Similar threat by the House of Representatives in the past had led to an immediate resolution of the same nature of crisis which erupted about a year ago.
Briefing newsmen later yesterday, spokesman of the House, Mr Sunday Eseme Eyiboh however denied any link between the decision of the House to pass the motion and any individual, apparently referring to Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Dimeji Bankole who incidentally comes from Ogun State.
The Speaker’s conspicuous absence at plenary when the decision was taken, the lawmaker explained also had nothing to do with the motion, stating that he [Bankole] was attending to some important national issues which he however did not name. Also in the resolution, the House called on President Goodluck Jonathan to note the goings in the Ogun State House of Assembly for the purpose of the powers vested in him in the constitution.
Attempts by two members of the House of Representatives from Ogun State, Dele Obadina and Olakunle Salako to see that rather than adopt the prayers as sought by sponsors the motion be replaced by setting up an ad-hoc committee to investigate the crisis before the House could take a decision was however opposed as members voted unanimously in support of the prayers.
Leader of the Minority, Mohammed Ali Ndume, Minority Whip and Leader of the Action Congress of Nigeria [ACN], Farauk Lawan, Abas Braimah and Mayor Eze also spoke in support of the motion.