Tunji Abayomi counters Fashola, insists Tinubu acted rightly in Ondo, Rivers crises

Renowned Constitutional Lawyer and Human Rights Activist, Dr Tunji Abayomi has said that the quick intervention of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to bring the political crisis Ondo and Rivers States to an end was appropriate thing to do in order to unite the country at this material time.

Accoring to him, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is constitutionally allowed and constitutionally correct to intervene in Ondo and Rivers States, rather Governor Raji Fashola’s disagreement is constitutionally erroneous and certainly constitutionally unsustainable.

The former Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola (SAN) had disagreed with the intervention of President Tinubu in the political crisis in Ondo and Rivers States. His position is that “the Constitution assigns no role to the President in this mater”

Abayomi while criticising Mr. Fashola over his comments in a statement issued in Akure, the Ondo State capital said “it Is important to correct Mr Babatunde Fashola (SAN) so that our peoples in Ondo and Rivers States as well as the National audience may be guided by Constitutional knowledge

The Constitutional lawyer said neither the President, the Governor, government of Federation nor of the several states is specifically granted the power to settle disputes of any kind and that none of them is granted what in Constitutional parlance we call “enumerated” or express powers to settle disputes.

His words: “Does the Constitution then expect or presume that disputes should be allowed to fester? This cannot be the intention of the Constitution that is established so that the people will “live in unity and harmony” and for the purpose of “promoting good government”, “unity of our people” as well as for “peace and order”.

“Let it be understood, clearly, contrary to the position of Mr. Fashola that it is this Constitution that President Tinubu in the Seventh Schedule to the 1999 Constitution swore, to the best of his ability, to “preserve, protect and defend”.

“An elected Governor is vested with the Executive powers of the State where he is elected and to assure the execution and maintenance of the Constitution and the laws. Under Section 5 of the Constitution the same executive powers, this time of the Federation, is vested in the President.

President Tinubu needs no ‘enumerated’ powers to maintain peace over the Federation or any part of it just as a Governor needs no express powers to maintain peace in his State or any part of it. Where the Governor or government of a State is disabled from maintaining peace and order over the State, it is part of the incidental prerogative of the President to take steps to do so in any part of the Federation as long as his action is within the penumbra of “execution and maintenance of this Constitution” especially where the exercise of powers in issue is not specifically forbidden or denied to the President”, Abayomi added.

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