The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has called on the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, to ignore the directive given him by the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami to provide security for 17 members of the Edo state House of Assembly.
By Gbade Ogunwale, Abuja
– PDP says directive unconstitutional –
The AGF gave the directive on Friday, following inauguration of the 17 as members of the state’s Assembly. The 17 lawmakers were shut out of the Assembly in a power play that saw the inauguration of only seven of the 24-member legislative body at inception.
Faulting Malami’s directive, the PDP said having been absent from the Assembly for over 180 days, the 17 lawmakers had automatically lost their seats.
The seven-member faction had since declared the 17 seats vacant and had called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct bye elections to fill their seats.
At a media briefing in Abuja on Saturday, the spokesman for the PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan, described the directive of the AGF as thoughtless, unconstitutional, null, void and of no effect.
The party said nothing in Sections 90, 91, 101 and 104 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) cited by the Attorney General, empowered him “to go to the streets of any part of our nation to assemble some clowns” and declare them members-elect of any House of Assembly, without any electoral mandate.
Insisting that the AGF’s directive was reckless, Ologbondiyan said it’s trite in law that with their seats declared vacant by the House, the 17 members consequently lost their memberships and respective mandates.
Continuing, the PDP spokesman said, “Furthermore, the Attorney General ought to have availed himself of the facts that the Edo State House of Assembly, as constitutionally constituted, had written to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) asking it to conduct fresh elections into the vacant seats in line with the provisions of our constitution and the Electoral Act.
“If the AGF had bothered to get his facts correctly before issuing the unconstitutional warrant for the gestapo operation to the IGP, he would have known that the matter of the declaration of the seats of the errant individuals and the request for the conduct of fresh elections to fill the vacant seats are pending in competent Court in Edo State at the instance of his ‘clients’ and therefore it is subjudice for him to speak on it or cause an action to be taken.
“Yet, Malami is painfully our nation’s federal law officer”
“However, we may have to remind the AGF, to go back to the Constitution and recheck if any sections warrant him to take any action whatsoever which compromise, derogate or infringe the powers donated to any Court in Nigeria apart from the powers of nolle pro seque of his office.
“Our party holds that there is no part of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) which enables him to do so.
“The PDP wants to make it abundantly clear to Malami and his All Progressives Congress (APC) that he does not possess the powers of a competent court and as such, cannot, by any stroke of imagination, make any judicial declaration whatsoever on a matter that is before a court of competent jurisdiction.
“Furthermore, our party insists that there is no provision in section 90, 91, 101 and 104 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) or any other provision of the constitution for that matter, empowers him to do so. “It is rather unfortunate for the AGF to ask the IGP to provide security for impostors”.
The PDP said what Nigerians expected of the AGF was for him to advise the 17 lawmakers to wait for the ruling of the court and, perhaps, prepare for their bye-elections, if they still wish to be in the Edo State House of Assembly.
“The PDP, and indeed, all well-meaning Nigerians, particularly the people of Edo state, completely reject this thoughtless and partisan directive of the AGF which is directly responsible for Thursday’s attempt to topple democratic order and the Edo state House of Assembly.
“Nigerians can now see those who provided the arsenal for the failed coup against democratic order in Edo state as well as those engineering a breakdown of law and order in the state.
“The PDP urges Nigerians to hold the Attorney General, Malami, responsible should there be any violence before, during and after the Edo state governorship election arising from the contents of his ill-advised letter.
“Our party therefore charges the Inspector General of Police to disregard this misguided partisan directive by the Attorney General as well as ensure that the Police are not entangled in such a partisan agenda against the people of Edo state,” the PDP said.