The leadership of the Edo State House of Assembly has faulted the stance of the National Publicity Secretary of All Progressives Congress (APC), Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu on the recent election of the house leadership, insisting that the party lacks powers to adjudicate on election of house leadership.
In a statement issued on Friday in Benin City, Speaker of the Edo House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Frank Okiye, declared that “the All Progressives Congress (APC) lacks the powers to adjudicate on constitutional functions of the Legislature.”
The statement signed by his spokesperson, Comrade Aigbefo Jnr. Iretiose, the Speaker noted: “We have read with disappointment the flip-flop of the National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu, on the issue of the election of the leadership of the Edo State House of Assembly.
“We recall very clearly that in the Thursday, June 20 edition of Thisday Newspaper, on page 49, he said that the APC has a structure, noting that the state chapter of the party was in the best position to intervene in the issue.”
Okiye quoted the APC Publicity Secretary as saying in the newspaper publication: “It is not every issue that the national leadership responds to. That is why we have structure; you can relate to the APC in the state. I can’t respond to that; we have structure. It has not gotten to what the media was trying to make it look like.”
He queried why in about 48 hours, Issa-Onilu’s stance dramatically changed.
“In about 48 hours, his stance has dramatically changed. He declared that the National leadership of the party is disappointed with the emergence of Rt. Hon. Frank Okiye as Speaker of the 7th Edo State House of Assembly, calling it ‘a charade’ and an ‘illegality.’
“This sudden U-turn leaves us wondering if it was the same Mallam Issa-Onilu with his faculties intact speaking or if it is somebody else with vested interests that is speaking through him.”
The Speaker emphasised: “To be clear, the National Publicity Secretary of the APC or the national leadership of the party is not in a position to adjudicate on the legality or lack thereof of the emergence of the Speaker of Edo State House of Assembly. They lack the capacity therefore to disparage an issue that is already cast in law.
“If they are not clear on the issue, they should approach a court of competent legal jurisdiction to seek redress, and not issue needless and ineffectual fiats.”
He explained: “We are certain that we carried out an inauguration and election of principal officers to the 7th Assembly according to all the provision of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution as amended. The issue of inauguration and election of principal officers is now behind us and we are now poised to carry out our constitutional responsibility of lawmaking.
“We also want to advise the National Publicity Secretary of the party to respect the independence of the legislature in Edo State. Mallam Issa-Onilu should stop calling on the head of the executive arm of government in the person of Governor Godwin Obaseki to intervene in our internal issues. Mallam Issa-Onilu should be guided that the independence of the different arms of government is one of the actual ideals of the APC, which Issa-Onilu and his advisers should be promoting.”