OrderPaperToday – The House of Representatives has reacted to a court ruling barring the National Assembly from taking over the Edo State House of Assembly.
The court had on Wednesday issued a judgement restraining the National Assembly from taking over the Edo State Assembly until the determination of a pending suit before the judiciary.
Recall that the House of Representatives and the Senate had before embarking on recess passed separate resolutions giving the Governor of Edo State, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, one week to issue a new proclamation for the inauguration of the 7th assembly in the State or have the functions of the assembly taken over by the federal legislature.
In a press statement issued by the chairman of the House of Representatives committee on Media, Mr. Benjamin Kalu, the lawmkers said the judiciary ought to know the democratic principle of separation of powers.
According to him, “this 9th House believes in the democratic principle of separation of powers; which is why this court ruling poses a problem. It is a core constitutional duty of the National Assembly that the court has attempted to prevent. This is like the National Assembly telling the President not to present the National Budget or like the Executive stopping the Courts from giving a ruling or judgement.
“No arm of the government is supposed to abdicate power to another arm. It is contrary to the doctrine of separation of powers that one arm of government should prevent another arm from carrying out its constitutional duty.
“The Constitution in Section 11(4) is clear on this. Where the House of Assembly of any State is unable to perform its functions by reason of the situation prevailing in that State, the National Assembly may intervene and take over the legislative functions of that House until such a time as the House of Assembly is able to resume its functions.
“It is no coincidence that this particular duty of the National Assembly to take over a State House that is unable to function falls under the section of the Constitution that deals with *Public Order and Public Security*
“This is a matter of restoring public order and security in Edo State and the National Assembly has to perform its constitutional duty. It should not be a question for debate.
“Now maybe the courts can (if they find reason after the take over) say that the take over was wrong based on their own interpretation of section 11 but not to preempt a constitutional role which is Sancrosanct.
Surely the doctrine of ripeness is applicable here. In some democratic climes Judicial restraint, which is procedural approach to the exercise of judicial review, urges judges to refrain from deciding legal issues, and especially constitutional ones, except where the decision is necessary in resolving a concrete dispute between adverse parties.
“As a substantive approach , it urges judges considering constitutional questions to grant substantial deference to the views of the elected arms of Government and invalidate their actions only when constitutional limits have clearly been violated.
“The National Assembly will surely appeal the ruling but for now we must respect it”.