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Ekiti: Stormy session ahead at N’Assembly

Posted by By YINKA FABOWALE on 2006/10/25 | Views: 701 |

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Ekiti: Stormy session ahead at N’Assembly

Sparks may fly Thursday as both chambers of the National Assembly reconvene to consider ratification of President Olusegun Obasanjo’s proclamation of a state of emergency in Ekiti State.

Sparks may fly Thursday as both chambers of the National Assembly reconvene to consider ratification of President Olusegun Obasanjo’s proclamation of a state of emergency in Ekiti State.

The president slammed the emergency rule on the state last Thursday, in the aftermath of the political crisis arising from the controversial impeachment of Dr Ayodele Fayose as the governor.
Section 305 of the 1999 Constitution enjoins the National Assembly to, if in session, meet within two days, or, if in recess, within 10 days, to pass the proclamation bill by the president.

Feelers from the vacationing federal legislators, however, indicate that the presidency is not going to have an easy ride getting them to approve the declaration.

Daily Sun learnt that the lawmakers have been divided into two camps, with some opposing the move on suspicion of mischief and motive to revive the aborted tenure elongation project by other means.
Said to be at the vanguard of the opposition are the anti-third term legislators, who frustrated an earlier plan to get a legislative endorsement for tenure extension earlier in the year.
They, sources said, feared that there might be no end to declaration of state of emergency, as the president may be encouraged to invoke it in state after state which may be used to justify an extension of the lifespan of the current regime, due to expire May 29, 2007.

According to a source, a number of the lawmakers believe that: "If the trend is not checked, Obasanjo can say he has dissolved the National Assembly itself one day."
Already, the presidency’s loyalists and Fayose’s sympathisers have begun extensive lobby to win support for their causes.

The latter want a return to status quo ante, which would see Fayose restored as governor, while the president’s camp feels it would amount to a loss of face, if the bill is defeated. "If that happens, it is President Obasanjo that has lost, and we won’t let that happen," one of the president’s men was quoted as saying.

Fayose’s deputy, Abiodun Olujimi, is also said to be deploying her clout as an ex-member of the House of Representatives to sway her former colleagues against the bill.
Her argument is that the situation in Ekiti State did not warrant emergency rule, particularly, when the crisis was believed to have been contrived by the Federal Government.
Outspoken Senator Farouk Bello Bunza had on Monday challenged Nigerians, particularly his colleagues in the National Assembly to stop peceived moves by the presidency to foist what he termed another phase of third term agenda on the nation.

The All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), Senator representing Kebbi Central Senatorial District asked the leadership of both chambers of the National Assembly to reconvene and review the state of the nation before they all lose their jobs as lawmakers.

According to him, "if what happened in Plateau and Ekiti states is anything to go by, it will lead to others across the country and this will automatically lead to a state of emergency in the country.
"What he (Obasanjo) could not have through the infamous constitution amendment in the National Assembly, he may get through chaos. Ekiti may just be the first in a series and if that happens, the president will definitely remain beyond 2007," the lawmaker warned.

"The National Assembly should reconvene immediately, debate the issues at hand, bring out the unconstitutionalities, ask all players to return to status quo ante and let constitutional provision take its course.

"If the president defies this, the consequences are there, the National Assembly will rise up against him, otherwise somebody else will exercise that right on our behalf. This is the time to come out to exercise our right to save the country’s democracy," Bunza said.

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