Saturday, 9 May 2015

Enugu Crisis: Chime Dares G-9, Recognizes Factional Speaker

The much expected reconciliation between Governor Sullivan Chime of Enugu State and members of the State’s House of Assembly has crumbled.

This followed reports that the factional speaker, Hon. Chinedu Nwamba has been formally presented to the Governor and the chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the State, Mr. Ikeji Asogwa.

The development is at variance with a peace meeting held within the week, where both parties were asked the maintain the status-quo for the next two weeks to give room for a total reconciliation of all aggrieved parties. recalls that the meeting, which was reportedly held at the instance of the Governor-Elect, Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, was also attended by some prominent indigenes of the State.

However, feelers emerged Friday morning that the nine lawmakers loyal to Chime, led by Nwamba, were hosted by the Governor on Thursday.

Reacting to the development, the Speaker of the House of Assembly, Hon. Eugene Odo, gave Chime a heavy knock for allegedly championing illegality in the State.

Addressing journalists at his Enugu residence, the Speaker
described the purported presentation of the new Speaker to the State PDP leadership and the Governor as a mere charade and exercise in futility.

Odo maintained that he still has the total support and loyalty of 15
majority honourable members of the House and, therefore, remains the Speaker of Enugu State House of Assembly.

He said it was unfortunate that the party chairman had to congratulate a Speaker that was elected by only seven members, thereby dividing the party further.

“To crown it all, the father of the State who is the Governor, syndicated the presentation of a speaker that was elected unlawfully.

“That is not our expectation of what democracy should look like. In a house of 24, one would have expected that to remove a speaker is a legitimate process, but at least removal of the speaker should meet the requirements of the constitution.

“By virtue of Section 92 (1) c of our constitution, it states as follows: ‘That the Speaker of Deputy Speaker of the House of Assembly shall vacate his office ifhe is removed from office by a resolution of the House of Assembly by the votes of not less than two thirds majority of members of the House’.

“Enugu State House of Assembly has 24 members. Two thirds majority of 24 members of the House is 16 voting excluding the person who is presiding. If you add the person, you are talking about 17 members.

“And we have found ourselves in a situation where only eight members and of course, if you exclude the presiding officer, we will be probably talking about a situation where only seven members sat under the watch of the Deputy Speaker, even when the Speaker did not travel”, he said.

Odo noted that under the House rules, the Deputy Speaker could only preside when the Speaker was not around, but in this case, the Deputy Speaker presided with infinitesimal minority.

The Speaker, therefore, called on the Nigerian Police, the Department of State Security and the military to intervene in Enugu State to stop the dangerous slide, warning that they are trying to lay a foundation that may consume them and even their children tomorrow.

“We want to appeal to conscience of entire Enugu people to rise up to the challenge. It is not about Eugene Odo. It is about democracy. It is about the future of our state. It is about God himself. We want to state categorically clear that I remain Speaker of Enugu State House of Assembly”, Odo said.           



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