Human Rights Lawyer, Femi Falana, SAN, on Tuesday, said while the President of Nigeria may intervene in the crisis rocking the states, his intervention must always be grounded in the provisions of the Constitution.
The Senior Advocate made this known in a statement made available to our correspondent in Abuja.“I agree with former Governor Tunde Fashola SAN, who has said that President Tinubu has no constitutional role in resolving the political crisis in Ondo and Rivers States. Therefore, the intervention of the President in both cases is purely advisory,” Falana said in the statement.
Speaking further, the lawyer noted that the presidential reinstatement of the 27 defected members of the Rivers State House of Assembly by the Presidency, “is alien to the Constitution in every material particular.
“The seats of the cross carpeting members have been declared vacant by the Speaker known to law. To that extent, the Independent National Electoral Commission is mandatorily required to conduct the by-election once the ex parte order issued by the Federal High Court last Friday is quashed.”
Falana noted that the 27 members of the Rivers State House of Assembly who defected from the Peoples Democratic Party to the All Progressives Congress have lost their seats, “because the PDP that sponsored them is not factionalised or divided as stipulated by the Constitution.
“Even if all the cases in the Rivers State High Court and the Federal High Court are withdrawn in line with the advice of the President, it is submitted that all actions taken by the Speaker recognised by the Rivers State High Court remain valid, including his pronouncement on the vacant seats of the 27 cross carpeting members of the House.
“In other words, only a court of law is constitutionally competent to set aside the pronouncement of the Speaker which is anchored on Section 109 of the Constitution. Furthermore, as the Speaker has not been removed by the required number of legislators, a presidential directive cannot remove him.
“Given the foregoing, the President and all the parties involved in finding political solutions to the crisis in Rivers State are advised to turn to the Constitution for guidance without any further delay.”
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