Friday, 24 February 2017

Why Anambra 6th Assembly Can't impeach Governor Obiano

By Okechukwu Onuegbu 

Although the recent letter sent to Anambra State House of Assembly by the factional Chairman of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Prince Ken Emeakayi, calling for impeachment of Governor Willie Obiano has continued to generate negative and positive reactions from people, the lawmakers, who are 30 in number; 28 stalwarts of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and 2 PDP members, have feigned ignorant of the whole issue.

This could be described as a house divided against itself since the two PDP state legislators, Hon. Onyebuchi Offor and Hon. Charles Ezeani of Ekwusigo and Anaocha II State constituencies were elected under the platform of PDP loyal to Ken Emeakayi, who defeated Ejike Oguebego faction at the court.

Initially, the 6th Assembly has 3 PDP legislators but one of them, Francis Okoye of Anaocha 1 constituency lost out to All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) candidate at the poll, Charles Chukubike Okoye during the 2015 Anambra State House of Assembly election petition tribunal and Enugu court of Appeal respectively.

The younger brother of Emeka Offor, former godfather of Anambra State government house is the Minority Leader; while Charles Ezeani of Anaocha 2 is the Minority Whip, even as the former Francis Okoye was Deputy minority Leader before losing out.

When approached for comments on the imbroglio, the Minority Leader feigned ignorant of the letter, while the Minority Whip pragmatically told our reporter that he can’t speak on it to avoid hitting-up the polity.

Onyebuchi, who had being a lone voice of opposition in the House having constantly accused his colleagues, the 28 APGA members of been a stooge of the APGA led executive, said in a telephone interview, “I was at the state plenary today. I left House of Assembly at 1 p.m. to hospital. So I don’t have knowledge of anything happening there now. And I know nothing about the impeachment letter before now”.

On his part, Minority Whip said, “No I can’t comment on it. I don’t want to hit-up the polity. I know you media man. If I say anything now it will escalate like whirl fire and might likely turn against me tomorrow. Sometimes when you say is, someone will mistake it as was and land you into trouble. This is what I am trying to avoid.”

Earlier, the House of Assembly Majority Leader and APGA stalwart, Hon. Victor Jideofor Okoye, told our reporter in his office that the matter under contention is of no-issue because they were yet to receive it.

“I can’t speak on that again because I have granted interview to so many journalists on that. But the main issue is that we did not receive the letter. If it has come, I want to let you know that I have no knowledge of it. Besides, it is left for the Speaker to inform us if she received it or not. That is if she so wishes. But the content of the letter is a non-issue” he said.

Could these be the reasons, the House of Assembly Speaker, Rita Maduagwu, and her Deputy, Harford Oseke, while respectively presiding over plenary sessions on Tuesday 21st and Thursday 23rd February, 2017 with 16 members out of 30 on attendance (at both sittings) made no reference to the PDP’s impeachment letter?  

However, speaking under condition of anonymity, one of the Speaker’s aides said that the whole drama was normal since the third female speaker was never proactive on pressing issues.

As they told you, this is a non-issue. Madam received the letter but she may choose not to make it public. Even if she would speak, I am not sure she will ever tell you that she did not receive letter of transmission from the Governor as pointed out in the petition. You know that the lawmakers are populated by APGA members. So, the majority leader may stand to acknowledge that he received the letter of transmission thereby rendering the petition useless even in the court of law”. recalled that Maduagwu had kept mute throughout the months of October and November 2016 when it was alleged that her colleagues were planning to sack and replace her with Ikemfune Uzoezie of Aguata 1 constituency. Uzoezie is the son of the Provost, Nwafor Orizu College of Education, Ego Uzoezie, and a second term House of Assembly member like the Speaker. Both hail from Anambra South where APGA zoned the Speaker but Maduagwu seemed to be most favoured by Governor Willie Obiano and his wife, Eberechukwu against other aspirants of the position such as Nickky Ugochukwu from Orumba South which is also in Anambra South.

Speaker Maduagwu, who represents Nnewi South II constituency, is a second tenure member yet she emerged unopposed after Governor Obiano and his wife, Ebele allegedly pressurized the high ranking and experienced members like Chugbo Enwezor (3rd term and the most vocal member), Benson Nwawulu (3rd term vocal member), Nikky Ugochukwu (3rd term member), Ikemefune Uzoezie (vibrant and experienced 2nd term), to step down.

It was even alleged that at inception of the 6th Assembly, the state government told likes of Enwezor (Onitsha North 1) and Nwawulu (Ogbaru 1) to forgo their ambition having held from Anambra North Senatorial zone, which is where Governor Obiano and 98 percent of his Commissioners, SAs and SSAs including the Chief of Staff hail from; while Ugochukwu, a female legislator like Maduagwu, and Uzoezie were rejected because of their alleged closeness to ex-governor Peter Obi and Victor Umeh, the immediate past National Chairman of APGA.

Also, the State first lady allegedly disapproved Nikky Ugochukwu due to her charming beauty which she might easily use as ‘Speaker’ to snatch away her husband, Obiano; while the governor on the other hand feared that his predecessor, Peter Obi might use same Ugochukwu to impeach him in the same vein Eucharia Azodo, the first female Speaker of Anambra State House of Assembly was used to impeach Chris Ngige when he was battling Chris Uba’s godfatherism.

It would be recalled that Ugochukwu came to the hallow chamber three times due to her closeness to Obi, who she reportedly sat in the front of his car chair throughout the former governor’s two tenure, just like Uzoezie, the son of Ego Uzoezie, who did not only serve as Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development at Obi’s regime, but also appointed Provost of Nwafor Orizu College of Education because she is a relative of Umeh, the APGA’s former National Chairman.

That could be why the Speaker was adamant to address the press even when it was alleged that oppositions to the government of the day were bankrolling money and other mouthwatering resources and contracts to inspire her colleagues to impeach her during which 21 out of 30 legislators appended their signatures in support of the impeachment plot.

More-so, there was a time some lawmakers accused Speaker Maduagwu of selfishness, hobnobbing with the state governor, collecting pecks of offices and turning down any attempt to ‘harrass’ the governor to also look in the way of members for settlement, and planned to impeach her and governor Obiano, yet she fenned deaf ears to the allegations, but sometimes, pass vote of confidence on the governor through her colleagues.

Emeakayi had in his 6 pages letter stamped and acknowledged received by the office of Anambra State House of Assembly speaker, which he read to newsmen at the end of PDP’s stakeholders meeting held at Awka, requested the State House of Assembly to impeach Governor Obiano over constitutional breaches and non-conduct of local government election.

He also accused Obiano of travelling out of the country for over one month without transmitting a letter to the House of Assembly as required by law.

“We have written to the Police, DSS and other security agencies in the country to let them know that the governor is now acting illegally. We have duly notified the House of Assembly in separate letters on the breaches committed by the governor which are very clear.

“Obiano had travelled to the United States in January without transmitting a letter to the House of Assembly and stayed for 30 days without his deputy acting as governor and as such he is not fit to continue with the task upon his return. By this breach, he is no longer the governor of the state. The governor had also failed to conduct local government elections in the state as required by the constitution. And there were plans by the governor to appoint caretaker committee leadership into the local government councils, instead of holding elections to democratize that tier of government” he said.

Analysts believed that the petition is dead on arrival because, Governor Obiano is in firm control of the house in a similar way his predecessor, Peter Obi used the 5th Assembly Speaker and second female Speaker, Chinwe Nwaebili as a stooge to avoid possible impeachment always witnessed in the Assembly controlled by men as Speaker.

Some even alleged that Obiano equally imposed all the APGA members on important positions in the House. These include the current Deputy Speaker, Oseke of Awka South 2, who had nursed ambition of becoming Speaker having served as Majority Leader of the House at the 5th Assembly; the incumbent Majority Leader, Victor Jideofor Okoye of Anambra West; Lawrence Ezeudu, a first time member representing Dunukofia State Constituency as Chief Whip; Paschal Agbodike, Deputy Majority Leader; and Beverly Ikpeazu, Deputy Chief Whip even though she is a second term legislator.

Others are Chugbo Enwezor, Chairman, committee of the 6th Assembly Agenda; Chris Emenaka of Anambra East (Gov. Obiano’s constituency), Chairman of the Committee for Financial Appropriation and Budget Control; Kingsley Iruba of Nnewi South 1, Chairman of Information, Culture and Tourism; Patrick Aniuno of Onitsha South 1, the Chairman, Committee on Millennium Development Goals (MDGs); Harford Oseke, Screening; Fabian Ezenwunne, Public Petitions & Conflict Resolution.

Other principal officers are Kenneth Anazodo, Chairman, Internally Generated Revenue (IGR); Chidi Udemadu, Rules and House Business; Victor Jideofor Okoye of Anambra West, Police & security; Chugbo Enwezor for Judiciary and Justice; Ikechukwu Umeh for Works; Peter Ibida, Commerce and Industries; Francis Mmegbuanaeze, Housing Development; Somto Udeze, Agriculture; Ikemefuna Uzoezie for Lands, Survey and Town Planning; Romanus Ugochukwu Obi, Tenders Board.

Also, Lawrence Ezeudu is the Chairman, House Committee on Environment; Edward Ibuzo, Transport; Vivian Okadigbo, Education; Timothy Ifedioramma, Ethics, Religion and Pilgrimage; Beverley Nkemdiche, Science & Technology; Boniface Okonkwo, House service; Benson Nwawulu, Political, Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters; Princess Nikky Ugochukwu, Women Affairs & Social Development; Paschal Agbodike, Youth and Sports; Onyebuchi Offor, Petroleum Project and Solid Resources; Nnamdi Okafor, Health; Uche Okafor, Public Utilities; Charles Ezeani, Election Matters.

Little wonder, Governor Obiano’s Special Assistant on Media, Strategic Communication and Legislative Matters, Oliver Okpala, described the impeachment letter as “laughable,” insisting that, “The person making the allegation has no locus standi in law to decide if he is the proper person to speak on behalf of the PDP judging from the recent political developments in the party. Is he the proper person to speak or write any letter to the House of Assembly as state chairman of the party? Which side of the party does he belong, to the Ahmed Makarfi faction or the Ali-Modu Sheriff faction”.



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