The Edo State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC), on Thursday, urged President Muhammadu Buhari to, as a matter of urgent national importance, declare a state of emergency in the state over what it alleged as “collapse of governance” one year after Governor Godwin Obaseki of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) assumed office for a second term of four years.
The opposition party in the state said that the call became imperative given the fact that Governor Obaseki “has emasculated the judiciary, crippled the legislature and personalised the executive branch”, while acting as “the Sole Administrator of Edo State”, where “his word is law; he is the lawmaker, the judge and the prison put together”.
The State chairman of the party, Col. David Imuse (rtd), who made the call while addressing a press conference at the party’s secretariat in Benin City, added that Governor Obaseki’s “flagrant abuse of power” is at variance with the provisions of the 1999 constitution.
Imuse noted that though elected democratically, Governor Obaseki “is actually functioning as the Sole Administrator of Edo State”, lamenting that over a year into Obaseki’s second term in office, “Edo is the only state in Nigeria today without a functional Legislature.”
He continued: “What is happening with the 10 PDP jokers who gather regularly at Governor Obaseki’s office is comical.
“What Obaseki is practicing in Edo today is a democratic taboo. And when a taboo is allowed to exist for too long it becomes a tradition. If this taboo is allowed to be exported to other States, using Obaseki as a reference, it will endanger our democratic culture. Edo is in serious trouble.
“Mr Obaseki’s flagrant abuse of power is not provided for, anywhere in the 1999 Constitution as amended. Meanwhile, this Constitution, which our country, Nigeria, is still operating, remains the grundnorm. So, we wonder where Mr. Obaseki is deriving his powers from, as there is no section in the Constitution either, for a Maximum Ruler or Sole Administrator as we presently have in Edo.
“For almost one-year, local government administration in Edo state has been thrown into a coma, with the governor’s decision not to conduct elections for Chairmen and Councilors. For a governor who daily interfered with the State’s local government council’s statutory allocations, is it not self-indictment to say that unless he is able to clear the N60 billion debt they owe, he cannot conduct LG elections?
“As I speak right now, Mr. Obaseki is demolishing the Central Hospital, Benin City with a view to replacing it with a Motor Park. The Government says it has no plans for such demolition two months ago (October) but if you go to Sapele Road by the Hospital this minute, you will see what I am talking about. We know the demolition is imminent and we call on Mr. Obaseki to stop or be ready for the consequences.”
But in a swift reaction, Edo State Commissioner for Communication and Orientation, Hon. Andrew Emwanta, said the call for the declaration of emergency in Edo State by APC should be directed to federal government.
He said the State remains one of the most peaceful states to live in the entire Nigeria, adding that under the APC-led government, lives have been reduced to near nothing.
According to Enwanta, “That the Edo State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) have the temerity to convene a press conference and raise issues about governance and development is not only a slap on the faces of citizens of Edo State, but a sign of selective amnesia.
“Edo State, as of today, is perhaps the most peaceful place to live in the entire country with incidences of crime and criminality in the state, over the last three months nearing almost zero, and the APC dares to call for a state of emergency in the state, when it superintends over a federal government under which Nigerian lives are slaughtered and maimed on a daily basis all across Nigeria.
“Can Edo APC not see that their call for a state of emergency should be more appropriately directed to a federal government, which they lead, that has reduced the value of Nigerian lives to near nothing?
“In Nigeria today, under the leadership of the APC, which their shameless and ragtag Executive Committee (EXCO) in Edo who addressed the press conference represent, you cannot travel from Abuja to Kaduna; Abuja to Keffi; or from Abuja to Minna, by road, without a seventy percent chance of being attacked, kidnapped or killed by bandits. And yet these palace jesters gather in the safety of Benin City, provided by the excellent leadership of Governor Godwin Obaseki and mouth non-existent chaos.”