Temporary normalcy appears to have returned to the Edo State House of Assembly following the last two weeks ruling by the Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt. The court ruled that the National Assembly has no legal right to take over the business of the state legislature even as no one has the powers to order the state government to issue a fresh proclamation for the inauguration of another assembly as being canvassed by the leadership of the ruling APC. AljazirahNigeria’s JONATHAN IPAA x-rays the intrigues involving the politics of who rules Edo in 2020.

After series of denials, the two major gladiators in the Edo State politics are opening up. Governor Obaseki and ex-governor Adams Oshiomhole, are currently lurked in a supremacy battle over the control of Edo House of Assembly. It is feared that the state lawmakers could either endorse or impeach the governor based on the continued impasse. This is the crux of the matter!

Justice Kolawole Omotosho in a ruling also stated that NASS could not compel Governor Godwin Obaseki to issue another proclamation within the lifespan of an existing proclamation for inauguration of Edo House of Assembly.

The court gave the order when it delivered judgement in a suit brought by the Deputy Speaker of Edo State House of Assembly Hon. Yekini Idiaye and Hon. Henry Okhuarobo, Member representing Ikpoba-Okha State Constituency.

The petitioners had approached the court to challenge alleged moves by NASS to take over the functions of the Edo House of Assembly.

The court also ruled that NASS lacked the power to take over the functions of Edo House of Assembly or any other House of Assembly in the country.

Justice Omotosho ruled that NASS lacked the power to direct the Edo governor to issue a fresh Proclamation to the Edo State House of Assembly as this would lead to extending the tenure of members of the House of Assembly.

The judge also stated that NASS could not seal or direct anybody to seal the State House of Assembly in Edo because the House is not its appendage.

Justice Omotosho finally nailed the matter that: “There is nothing before the court to show that the Edo State House of Assembly is unable to sit.

This means, both the National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, Adams Oshiomhole and his federal lawmakers have lost out legally from the court point of view. The House which was rocked by crisis following the emergence of two factional leaders with each enjoying the backing of high profile politicians including Governor Godwin Obaseki and the National Chairman of the ruling APC Oshiomhole.

The crisis which made the NASS to threaten to take over the functions of Edo lawmakers snowballed into a personality clash between the two leaders from the state.

A Federal High Court in Abuja has last August ordered both the Senate and the House of Representatives to halt their plan to take over the legislative duties of the Assembly.

Justice Taiwo Taiwo made the order at the hearing in the case instituted by the Edo State Government to challenge the directive by the chambers of the National Assembly to the Governor of the state, Godwin Obaseki, to issue a fresh proclamation of the state’s House of Assembly.

The National Assembly threatened to take over the legislative duties and powers of the assembly should the governor fail to make the fresh proclamation within three weeks.

But Justice Taiwo ordered parties in the case to maintain status quo ante pending the determination of the case.

More devastating scenes came into play when Governor Obaseki made a Sallah special visit to Oshiomhole’s home town to pacify the ex governor. In response, the APC boss had blamed journalists for promoting what he described as imaginary crisis between two brothers.

The unending battle on who controls the leadership of the Edo State House of Assembly may be far from coming to an end as the real reasons are far beyond the principal leaders of the state legislature as painted to outsiders.

A closed search on the war involving the camps of Obaseki and Oshiomhole, may appear to have taken a national outlook but the solution may just be within the powers of Edo voters come next year.

Edo politics until recently has been around the late Minister of Works and Housing, Chief Tony Anenih. The late Peoples Democratic Party, PDP chieftain during his days single handedly decided who became governor, speaker and a cabinet member until last ten years when Oshiomhole decimated that political dynasty.

However, the same godfatherism Oshiomhole claimed to have halted completely is playing out.

Governor Obaseki alleged that the former governor is interested in controlling the oil state from Abuja. He shares this thought with many including the former APC chairman, Chief John Oyegun, ex speaker and Oshiomhole’s former deputy, Hon. Philip Shauib with huge sympathy from the leaders of the opposition PDP in the state.

However, what is yet to be clear is whether Obaseki may be heading to the opposition PDP to punish his estranged godfather.

The PDP under the leadership of former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chief Tom Ikimi and ex Governor Lucky Igbinidion have dusted a retinue of aspirants to wrest power from the ruling APC come next year. They are closely working with the immediate past National Chairman of the ruling APC, Chief John Odegie Oyegun.

The man who lost to Obaseki three years ago, Pastor Ize Iyamu and Oshiomhole’s main challenger in his second term, Barrister Kenneth Imasuagbon are on top consideration.

Already, grass root mobilisation around party ward leaders is ongoing between these two PDP chieftains while Governor Obaseki maintains a close torch with the opposition national leadership as his plan B.

Armed with state resources, the governor is with the man who understands the Oshiomhole’s style of politics well, Philip Shuaib. Shuaib who worked closely with Oshiomhole is hurt and ready for a payback giving his humiliation years as the Speaker of the Edo State House of Assembly. He also has a pocket of the state lawmakers in his kitty while lobbying the state Obas and Chiefs for a good outing like done in Benue in 2018 by Ortom and Bauchi recently under Governor Bala Mohammed.

Obaseki is mulling a plan B ticket should he get a Red Card from the APC. He is negotiating with Chief Ikimi, the PDP National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus and other notable Edo power brokers.

If the deal scales through, the party may be faced with mirage of problems especially on how to pacify the already two aspirants in the race for the umbrella flag. Cash and appointment offer are likely going to swear the new deal as Obaseki’s elder brother and former Group Managing Director of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Dr Gaius Obaseki, the Igbinidion families and PDP federal lawmakers are expected to play key roles in the project.

But Oshiomhole’s well rooted federal connection is paying less. His usage of the National Assembly two months ago to stamp out the Edo boys out of power was rather challenged at the court. Even at that, ex Imo State governor, Senator Rochas Okorocha has advised the Senate to steer clear of the crisis in the Edo House of Assembly and allow the APC settle it all as a family affair.

Senator Okorocha who represents Imo West in the upper legislative chamber, has kicked against the senate’s interference in the crisis currently rocking the Edo State House of Assembly.

Nine out of the twenty four members-elect of the State House of Assembly held an inauguration election to settle on a Speaker and other principal officers, and three members-elect later joined them in the floor of the assembly and took oath of office.

Twelve members who were absent at the election of the principal officers of the house, have resorted to Abuja for help now that the court has ruled in favour of the governor.

These twelve members-elect were demanding that Governor Obaseki withdrew his earlier proclamation recognizing the leadership of the house.

Obaseki’s contention, however, is that his initial proclamation stands and that he can’t issue a second proclamation.

The Senate last two months considered a senate’s report on Obaseki’s reluctance to inaugurate the Edo State House of Assembly for a second time.

Before the recent court ruling, asking for the status quo ante, the Senate had issued the order compelling Edo Governor Obaseki, to issue a fresh proclamation inaugurating the Edo State House of Assembly within a week.

The Edo State Government defied the order, regarding it as unconstitutional and a blatant disregard of the principle of separation of powers.

A statement signed by Secretary to the State Government, Osarodion Ogie, declared that, “This illegality will not stand” and urged, “Powerful persons not to be allowed to set our state ablaze merely to satisfy their thirst for power and control.”

Nigeria runs a presidential system of government with the principle of separation of powers underpinning how the three arms of government: the executive, judiciary and legislature dispense powers in the federation.

The National Assembly is constitutionally empowered to interfere in the affairs of state legislatures when they run into trouble or are dealing with internal conflicts.

Sources say the crisis in the state legislature has everything to do with the battle between both men using proxies in the legislature.

Obaseki who succeeded Oshiomhole as governor of the state wants a second term while Oshiomhole is kicking, alleging disloyalty as reason and outright abandonment of projects he started. The choice of the principal leadership of the assembly is a mere smokescreen for the real intrigues and power game.

Through a gradual process, Obaseki has reshuffled his cabinet, replaced Oshiomole’s loyalists with his men. He did same at the local government councils as well as at the party ward level without any course to the man in Abuja.

The final step would have been the assembly where the share of power and state resources were to allocate.

An aide close to the APC boss in Abuja confided to AljazirahNigeria that “Oshio Baba was pushed to this war. How can someone you made a lot of enemies bringing him on board to pay you this way?”

Oshiomhole himself has started opening up when he told Channel Television recently that even as an ex governor and leader of the party under which Obaseki rode to power, he was given only one slot in the cabinet and all his projects abandoned.

However, Governor Obaseki applied wisdom when he ordered an embargo on public comments against his predecessor.

But beyond this, the real battle ground has shifted to the political party and would -be delegates as the state gears towards 2020 election.

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