By Peter Okutu
ABAKALIKI — Ebonyi State chapter of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has dismissed insinuations that Speaker of the House of Assembly, Chukwuma Nwazunku, was ever impeached.
According to the party, issues that led to the purported impeachment of the Speaker are not serious enough to warrant impeachment.
However, an Abuja-based legal practitioner, Dr. Eze Anoke, yesterday, condemned the party’s verdict on the impeachment, saying the action of the party was a clear manifestation that the present administration in the state was a threat to the growth of democratic principles.
Nwazunku was impeached July 21 by 18 of the 24 members of the House, but has continued to describe the action as illegal.
But the party, after a meeting with the House members, told reporters that its findings showed that the speaker was never impeached.
PDP, which position was made public by Governor Martin Elechi at the secretariat in Abakaliki, insisted that Nwazunku remained Speaker of the Assembly, adding that decision to re-instate him as Speaker was non-negotiable
The party said: “Today being the 11th day of August, 2014 exactly three weeks, we woke up to hear the purported impeachment of Hon. Chukwuma Nwazunku, Speaker of our House of Assembly.
“Ever since then, there has been reactions from all manner of people, from the informed, the uninformed and ill-informed. We have read from the pages of the newspapers of various comments and reactions from so on and so forth.
“Therefore, we as a party, we as a government, remained calm and did everything to unravel what led to the alleged impeachment of the speaker.”
“We interviewed both sides and they bared their minds and spoke frankly. On our own part, we believed that the issue that led to the alleged impeachment of the Speaker were not good enough to justify any attempt of impeachment.
“We are also convinced that the allegations which the members had against him was in all respects improper and unacceptable.
“But we did not appropriate blames at that stage. We simply met with our elders and principal stakeholders in PDP and in executive arm of government by extension the entire Ebonyi State.
“Having considered all these and in the interest of justice, peace and fair play to prevail, we as a government, we as a party hereby state and affirm that Hon. Chukwuma Nwazunku was never impeached as being alleged. So he remains the Speaker of Ebonyi State Assembly and we shall continue to work with him.”
But the Minority Leader of the House, Enyi C. Enyi, described the party’s interference in the matter as unconstitutional.
“It is unconstitutional for anybody who is not a member of the House to interfere in its internal affairs,” Enyi said.
He added that no person, except court of law, could declare the impeachment of Nwazunku illegal.
Meanwhile, an Abuja-based legal practitioner, Dr. Eze Anoke, yesterday, condemned the party’s verdict on the impeachment of Chukwuma Nwazunku by the state House of Assembly.
In a chat with Vanguard, Anoke stated that the action of the party was a clear manifestation that the present administration was a threat to the growth of democratic principles in the state.
Anoke, who stated on the need for state governments in the country not to interfere with the legislative businesses of their Houses of Assembly, further emphasised that the operation of separation of powers among the three arms of government was non-existent in the administration of the state.
According to him, Ebonyi State House of Assembly had always supported Governor Martin Elechi on the passage of bills into law, appointment and sack of commissioners and local government officers, among others, but wondered why Governor Elechi should become over-bearing on the House members who decided to change their leadership.
Anoke emphasised the need for governors in the country to allow House members to embark on legislative activism, noting that such a practice was necessary for the growth of democracy in the state.
“For such controversial development, it is the court of competent jurisdiction that is allowed to handle it. Governor Elechi is not the court and his verdict doesn’t hold water. If the impeached Speaker believes he has a good case, then he should allow the court to rule on the matter,” he said.