Mr Mudashiru Obasa, Chairman, Conference of Speakers of State Legislatures in Nigeria, has urged Governors of Edo and Bauchi, Godwin Obaseki and Bala Mohammed, to resolve the crises in their states’ Houses of Assembly.
Obasa, who is the Speaker of the Lagos House of Assembly, made the call in a statement issued in Lagos on Sunday.
He said that the crises that had engulfed the Houses of Assembly in both states must not be allowed to fester.
The chairman called for the reversal of the proclamations of the two Houses and the elections of the principal officers through due process of law.
According to him, illegality should not thrive on the altar of perceived personal ego and interest.
Obasa said that the body would not recognise any speaker whose emergence was through a fraudulent process or the violation of the constitution and the Business Rules of the affected House of Assembly.
While stating that the body would not condone illegality, the lawmaker admonished the governors of both states to adhere strictly to the spirit and letters of the constitution and the rules of the Houses of Assembly on the emergence of principal officers.
“No society can progress when its stakeholders are at daggers-drawn,” he said, adding “a situation where the minority in a House of Assembly takes control of activities over the majority is condemnable.
“No lover of democracy in the country should support the charade that happened recently at both Houses of Assembly. If we must make progress, we must work in an atmosphere of peace, love and unity.
“We must also call on the two governors to reverse their actions and act in accordance with the laws backing up the legislative arms of their states,” Obasa said.
According to him, a situation where nine members will elect the principal officers in a 24-member House and inaugurate them, as it happened in Edo, is illegal.
He also condemned the election of principal officers in the Bauchi House of Assembly by 11 out of the 31 members, describing it as questionable.
Obasa expressed the regret that the crisis in the Bauchi Assembly had led to the emergence of two speakers, with its attendant litigations.
According to him, even though Section 92(1), Chapter V of the 1999 Constitution simply states that there shall be a Speaker and a Deputy Speaker of a House of Assembly who shall be elected by the members of the House from among themselves, Section 98 (1 and 2) clearly stipulates that voting must be by simple majority.
“Specifically, Section 98(2) expressly states: “Except as otherwise provided by this Constitution, the required majority for the purpose of determining any question shall be a simple majority,” he added.
While reacting to the injunction secured by the 11 members of the Bauchi House of Assembly stopping the majority in the House from parading their elected Speaker and Deputy, Obasa cautioned the judiciary against unnecessarily meddling in the affairs of the state legislatures.
Obasa said the injunction from the Bauchi State High Court was frivolous and must therefore be stopped.
“Why should any reasonable court grant injunction in favour of 11 against 20? Why should the judiciary interfere in the business of the legislature which is supposed to operate on the principle of separation of powers?” he queried.
The lawmaker said that the developments were part of the discussions at a two-day conference recently held in Abuja on the implementation of autonomy for state legislatures and the judiciary.