By OKUNADE ADEKUNLE
The Conference of Speakers of State Legislatures in Nigeria, has condemned the recent siege on the Edo State House of Assembly by men suspected to be loyal to governor of the State, Mr. Godwin Obaseki.
The Speakers made the condemnation in a statement issued on Saturday by the Chairman of the Conference of Speakers and Speaker, Lagos State House Of Assembly, Rt (Hon) Mudashiru Obasa on behalf of them.
Obasa said the removal of the roofs of the hallowed Assembly was an injury to Nigeria’s democracy and must be condemned by all well-meaning Nigerians.
According to the statement, the State Assemblies Speakers described the brazen manner the suspected political thugs took over the Assembly, removed the roof and broke the symbolic mace, which were all captured in a recorded video, as sheer recklessness.
In the statement, the Speakers accused the state government headed by Obaseki as autocratic and dictatorial in this regard adding that whatever defence the latter has for the action does not ‘hold any water’.
“It is sheer recklessness and a proof of dictatorship for a governor who is supposed to be the head of the executive arm of government to decide to take charge of another arm through questionable means like it happened in Edo.
“There were reports linking the removal of the roof and the offloading of gravel at the complex to purported plans by the government to renovate the Assembly but we think this is an afterthought,” the Speakers declared.
They wondered how the idea of renovating the Assembly suddenly came up just weeks to the governorship election in the state and in such manner creating a mockery of the electioneering process and democracy.
“Why is the government just realising the need renovate the complex at the twilight of the In administration?
“What happens to the building if the governor does not return? What happens if the next administration does not take that direction?
Obasa’s statement on behalf of his colleagues further questioned the role played the Commissioner of Police in the state in the entire drama.
The Speakers accused the police commissioner of allowing himself to be used as a tool to perpetrate an attack on democracy in the way the drama panned out at the Assembly complex in the state.
While strongly warning the governor and those participating in the electoral process in the state to desist from doing anything that would affect the smooth running of the Edo House of Assembly, the Speakers reminded Obaseki that the removal of the Assembly roof does not stop the lawmakers from sitting as the constitution of the country does not limit plenaries to the hallowed chamber alone.