BY FRANCIS IGATA
The lingering crisis rocking the Enugu State House of Assembly led by embattled Speaker, Eugene Odoh and Governor Sullivan Chime of Enugu State,yesterday,took a twist as the group of eight House members called G8 opposed to Odoh’s leadership, presented a new Speaker,Chinedu Nwamba to the governor at Government House Enugu.
Odoh and 13 other members of the 24 member House had last Monday,ordered the Clerk,Christopher Chukwurah to serve a notice of impeachment on Chime over alleged financial misconduct and forgery of 2012 supplementary budget.But the governor-elect,Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi who lost sleep over the crisis,brokered truce at his residence last Tuesday among the two factions of the House.
The 24 members who were present at the meeting in convivial atmosphere,unanimously agreed to sheath their sword for two weeks to allow Ugwuanyi proffer a solution to the imbroglio.The two factions had agreed to maintain two speakers pending the outcome of Ugwuanyi’s peace intervention.However,the pact broke,following the presentation of Nwamba as new Speaker to the Chime who received him at about 6.30pm at Government House.
ODOH REACTSAddressing journalists at his Enugu residence yesterday, 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 who 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 there should be a legitimate process to, at least, meet the requirements of the constitution.“By virtue of Section 92 (1) c of our constitution, it states as follows:
‘That the Speaker or Deputy Speaker of the House of Assembly shall vacate his office if he 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 talking about 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 can only preside when the Speaker is around, but in this case, the Deputy Speaker presided with infinitesimal minority and the executive that should implement the laws of the land and the constitution of the country joined in encouraging impunity in Enugu State.He regretted that those who should champion the protection of law and order and rule of law in the State were the ones violating themThe 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 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.