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Sunday 15th September 2019,
Hope for Nigeria

Jonathan writes National Assembly on emergency rule NIYI ODEBODE, OLUSOLA FABIYI AND OLALEKAN ADETAYO

President-Goodluck-Jonathan

THERE were indications on Thursday that President Goodluck Jonathan has forwarded details of the state of emergency proclamation to the National Assembly for ratification.

Also, reports indicated that the details would be subjected to plenary debate on Tuesday next week.

Jonathan had on Tuesday declared emergency rule in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states, promising to send the details of the proclamation to the federal legislature for approval in accordance with constitutional provision. [viralpullquote ]Jonathan had on Tuesday declared emergency rule in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states, promising to send the details of the proclamation to the federal legislature for approval in accordance with constitutional provision.[/viralpullquote]

A source in the Presidency on Thursday confirmed to one of our correspondents that the documents had been sent to the lawmakers and that he was certain that the president’s action would receive the nod of the National Assembly members.

The source said, “I can confirm to you that the details (of the emergency rule) have been transmitted to the National Assembly as required by law. The Presidency is not entertaining any fear that the National Assembly will approve the declaration.

“You can see that members of the Senate and House of Representatives have come out to support the declaration publicly. So we are confident that there will be no problem in this regard.”

But, during Thursday’s plenary, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Aminu Tambuwal, did not read any communication from Jonathan to members.

No reference was made to the emergency rule throughout the sitting.

However, Deputy Chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Mr. Victor Ogene, said that the President was not in breach of the constitution by not writing the National Assembly as of Thursday.

He said that the opening paragraph of Section 305 presupposed that Jonathan would forward the document to the legislature after it had been published in the official gazette of the Federation.

“The two days referred to is upon the publication of the proclamation. The issue is really whether it has been gazetted.

“It will be hasty to conclude that Mr. President has not written the National Assembly and is therefore in breach of the law”, he stated.

Meanwhile, the Action Congress of Nigeria and the ruling Peoples Democratic Party on Thursday continued their war of words over the state of emergency declared by Jonathan in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states.

The ACN urged the members of the National Assembly to carefully study the emergency rule, saying it was a sweetened bitter pill meant to hoodwink Nigerians while the PDP urged the legislature to ignore ACN and support the state of emergency.

The ruling party said the declaration had no political undertone.

ACN in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said, “Members of the federal legislature, as the true representatives of the people, must decide – purely on the basis of facts rather than sentiments – whether or not the emergency rule is the best option to resolve the Boko Haram crisis.

‘’Truly understanding the proclamation will enable them to make an informed decision when the issue is brought before them.”

It said that the emergency rule, which is essentially martial law, had castrated democracy in the affected states, despite the fact that democratic structures had been left largely intact.

The ACN said the Jonathan administration realised the opposition that would be triggered if the governors and the Houses of Assembly members were sacked, alleging that government pulled the wool over the eyes of unsuspecting Nigerians by leaving the elected officials in place even under the emergency rule.

It said, ‘’In practice, it was a monumental deception. First, the democratic structures left in place are of no use in a state under martial law.

“Secondly, the proclamation did not give a time frame, meaning that the emergency rule is open-ended and can last as long as the President wishes.”

It noted that the emergency rule imposed on 15 local councils in four states was never lifted.

The ACN said that the President had tested the waters and realised people could be so easily hoodwinked.

It said, “Truly, leaving the governors and the state legislatures in place has made it easier for Nigerians to accept the imposition. But the truth is that the state chief executives and the legislatures have no role to play under the new system in place in the states.

“Essentially, there are two governments in place in each of the affected states, the de facto one headed by the military commander and the de jure one headed by the elected Governor.

“Real power resides in the de facto government, and the de jure government is just there in name. The governors and the members of assembly are on holiday!

“What are the powers of the governors and the state legislature now?

Who has the power to order a search, an arrest, confiscation of property and lock-up of premises? Can the governors move around freely, inaugurate or inspect a project without the tacit approval of the military commander?

“Which is superior: the proclamation by the military commander or the law made by the state legislature? What happens if the military commanders order that the State House of Assembly be locked up for allegedly harbouring suspected Boko Haram members? These are some of the questions that should be asked before this proclamation is allowed to stand.”

The ACN said its rejection of the imposition of emergency rule was based on the fact that it brought nothing new to the table – beyond the use of brute force.

It also said the emergency rule involved the infringement on the constitutional rights of innocent citizens – in the search for a sustainable solution to the Boko Haram crisis.

It reiterated its earlier statement that the use of minimal force must be complemented with genuine dialogue in the short term.

The party said the long term solution was good governance that would deliver the dividends of democracy, including jobs for the teeming unemployed youths.

But the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Chief Olisa Metuh, in a telephone interview with one of our correspondents in Abuja on Thursday, faulted the ACN.

He said, “The state of emergency in the affected northeast states is aimed at ensuring security of lives, property and sovereignty of the Nigerian state and has nothing to do with politics.

“The National Assembly is made up of patriotic Nigerians under the leadership of true patriots like the Senate President, David Mark; and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambawal.”

 

But the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Chief Olisa Metuh, in a telephone interview with one of our correspondents in Abuja on Thursday, faulted the ACN.

He said, “The state of emergency in the affected northeast states is aimed at ensuring security of lives, property and sovereignty of the Nigerian state and has nothing to do with politics.

“The National Assembly is made up of patriotic Nigerians under the leadership of true patriots like the Senate President, David Mark; and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambawal.”

 

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