A Civil Society Activist, Comrade Innocent Ebirim Okadigbo has stated that the constitutional right to represent any constituency in the parliament is not absolute, but limited by due process, which justifies the one year suspension of embattled former Chairman House of Representative Committee on Appropriation, Hon. Abdulmumuni Jibrin.
The argument contradicts the position of the House of Representatives Majority Leader, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila that the said suspension is unconstitutional and illegal.
It could be recalled that Hon. Gbajabiamila had openly distanced himself and condemned the suspension of Hon Jibrin as unconstitutional and illegal because the constitution did not make any provision for such suspension which had created a constitutionally unanticipated and unenvisaged vacuum for the constituency Hon Jibrin represents.
However, in a counter position, Comrade Okadigbo, National President, Coalition of Civil Society and Media Executives for Policy Stability COCMEP in a recent press interview in Abuja stated otherwise.
He said that the same constitution which gave powers for various constituencies to be represented in the parliament equally gave delegated powers to the parliament to make laws for good governance in the country and its internal rules for orderliness, due process, decorum, members privileges, rights, duties and obligations, respect for parliamentary rules and constituted authorities etc.
He emphasized that those constitutionally backed parliamentary rules do not contradict the constitution otherwise they would have been annulled long ago but they are there to strengthen the parliament to carry out its constitutional and statutory duties.
The activist pointed out that the constitution did not ask any Representative to be reckless, rascal, clownish in behaviors and to jettison due process in fighting any cause.
According to Okadigbo: “Hon Jibrin threw caution to the wind, avoided due process, reckless in his utterances and conducts and he is now seeking refuge in the constitution.
“Surely, he will not be protected by the constitution because the constitution does not give shelter for recklessness and rascality”.
While showing concern for the members of the Federal Constituency Hon Jibrin represents, Comrade Okadigbo urged them to channel their matter through the Senate until the resolution of the matter, since our constitution envisages such situations by creating a bicameral legislature.
Comrade Okadigbo further disagreed with Hon Gbajabiamila on the judicial aspect by stating that the court ruled in the Dino Melaye’s case that the suspension was illegal because of lack of fair hearing.
However, in the case of Jibrin, he was granted fair hearing but he deliberately refused to appear before the Ethics and Privileges Committee.
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