The Edo State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, said the Edo State House of Assembly has become a rubber stamp to the state governor, Godwin Obaseki as it allegedly sold its constitutional power for a pot of porridge.
The party condemned the illegality and unconscionable amendment to a law, the bill sent to the EDHA by the state governor without due process: without the input of other political parties, civil society, and the general public.
According to the PDP in a statement by its Publicity Secretary, Mr. Chris Nehikhare, the EDHA passed into law, a bill to amend the statutory 90 days notice before the election to 45 in order to skew the coming local government election for the ruling party, All Progressives Congress’s favour.
Explaining the procedure of amendment, Nehikhare said “When a member or the Governor wishes to amend a bill;
He writes to the EDHA intimating it on the area it wants to amend. EDHA on the receipt does the 1st reading. First publication on the order paper. 2nd publication and 3rd publication are done on different days. After the 3rd Publication, 2nd reading is carried out. At this point, the amendment is sent to related committees to work on. The committee will institute a public hearing on the issue after which The committee will come up with a resolution and report back to the house their findings. The house will dissolve into a committee of the whole and examine and debate the amendment clause by clause. At this point, consideration is made in the report submitted. After consideration, the speaker orders for 3rd reading. Bill is Passed into law and sent to the governor for assent. This process, when hastened and fast-tracked, will take a minimum of six weeks!
Nehikare alleged that the EDHA had passed into law the amendment bill within 24 hours which is contrary to the constitutional stipulation.
He said “Governor Obaseki sent a bill to EDHA to amend the law that stipulates 90 days notice to political parties before local government elections are held to a mere 45 days. Within 15 minutes of receiving this bill, our “lawbreakers” went through 1st reading, 2nd reading, and 3rd reading. They passed the law and sent it to governor Obaseki for assent. The governor assented to the bill within 24 hours of his sending such a monumental bill to the house of assembly.
“In effect, our house of assembly is a mere rubber stamp to the executive and has completely ceded its constitutional powers to governor Obaseki, allegedly for a pot of porridge. They don’t even read what’s in front of them. As long as it is accompanied by some condiments, bills such as budgets, amendments and even screening of nominations are passed and cleared with automatic alacrity. It is disgraceful and unacceptable. “
PDP accused the state government of embarking on such amendment in order to manipulate the coming LGA election speculated to be held on 16 February, 2018 to its favour, adding that “Their desperation to maintain the status quo as it concerns the moribund STATE ELECTORAL BODIES to conduct elections that can only be described as FARCE is their biggest motivation. They are aware that if a truly independent body not remote-controlled from Osadebey Avenue were to handle the Local government election, they would struggle to win one council”.
The party urged the EDHA to take up its responsibilities in order to avoid ridicule and warned the state government to reverse ill-thought policy by first considering the welfare and wellbeing of the people it governed