. We’ll ask pointed questions – Opposition lawmaker
By Steve Oko
Abia North stakeholders have warned against any move to impeach the Deputy Governor, Rt. Hon. Sir Ude Oko Chukwu, on trumped-up and frivolous charges.
The warning is coming on the heels of the strong rumours of plots to impeach some Principal Officers of the State House of Assembly including the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Chinedum Orji.
According to the rumour, the plot is to first remove the Leader of the House; and the Deputy Speaker, Hon. Ifeanyi Uchendu, before removing the Speaker to pave way for easy removal of the Deputy Governor.
The ultimate targets of those behind the plot, according to rumour mills, are the Speaker and the Deputy Governor.
” Those behind this move want to clip the wings of the Speaker ahead of the primaries so that they can easily deal with the Deputy Governor”, a source confided in our Correspondent.
According to the source who pleaded anonymity, lawmakers willing to be part of the hatchet job were mobilised with N15 million with a promise to receive N15 million balance if successfully executed.
Apparently sensing danger, the Speaker reportedly adjourned the House indefinitely last month after an unsuccessful attempt by some members to remove the Leader of the House.
Speaking with our correspondent on the matter, the immediate-past Secretary of State Government, SSG, Dr Eme Okoro, said that Abia North would not accept any attempt to intimidate the Deputy Governor who he said is a son of Abia North for committing no crime than declaring interest in the 2023 governorship race.
He said that if there were any reasonable charges of malfeasance against the Deputy Governor, due process of the law has to be followed in investing the charges before taking any action against him.
” This is democracy. The House cannot impeach him or even the Governor without first evaluating any charges against him. There have to be verifiable offences he is said to have committed. He cannot be frivolously impeached.
” We don’t have a despotic House of Assembly. They cannot just remove him without due process, otherwise, they will be creating unnecessary turmoil in Abia State.
” They are overheating the polity, and that will result in some kind of fracas that this state does not have the capacity to sustain.
” Abia North won’t accept any action that does not follow due process to evaluate charges if any against him, thoroughly investigated and proven through the necessary legal pathways.
” Any trumped-up charges will not be accepted by Abia North. We must go through the pathways of democracy before we punish somebody for declaring an ambition that is not illegal; an aspiration that is democratic and constitutionally allowed.
” He has the right to run just like other contestants. We cannot begin to impeach them because you don’t like their faces or their name or the zone they come from.”
The former SSG advised members of the House of Assembly to abstain from any act capable of truncating the prevailing peace in the state.
He also urged them to shun any monetary inducement for any hatchet job.
” If anybody accepts any free money from our purse because this money is not coming from the pocket of whoever that is giving it. It is coming from stolen money.
” They will also be accountable to the people of Abia. Every House member who agrees to get involved in the plot to impeach the Deputy Governor must know that he is also elected.
” So, if you take money that belongs to all of us, you will account for that money”.
Similarly, Abia Youths Vanguard has strongly condemned the alleged plot to impeach the Deputy Speaker and called on the lawmakers to jettison any move capable of throwing the state into upheaval.
Coordinator of the group, Comrade David Onwuneme, told our Correspondent that Abia Youths would vigorously resist any attempt to promote political rascality in the state.
He said that the rumour had been very rife and getting strong every day, adding that it will be wrong to victimise the Deputy Governor for showing interest in the 2023 governorship race.
” The rumour is quite strong and we are getting uncomfortable. A lot of underground work is going on in the House to remove him.
” This clearly shows that he is being victimised over his opinion on the zoning of governorship to Abia North in 2023. We stand on zoning based on the Charter of Equity. We will strongly resist any move against zoning and any attempt to impeach anybody based on his political opinion”.
Abia Youths Vanguard urged lawmakers to jettison the plot as it will not serve the interest of the state.
All efforts to extract a reaction from the House Committee Chairman on Information and Deputy Speaker, Hon. Uchendu, were not successful as he refused to pick up calls put across to him.
When contacted, the Chief Press Secretary to the Speaker, Mr. Okechukwu Ndukwe, said he lacked powers to comment on the matter, and referred our Correspondent back to the Deputy Speaker.
But the member representing Aba South State constituency Hon. Obinna Ichita (APGA), when contacted, admitted that the House had not been sitting for over one month now.
He, however, denied knowledge of any plot to impeach the Deputy Governor but said he also read about it on social media.
Hon. Ichita said although those behind the said plot might not bother to inform him being a member of the opposition party, he vowed to resist any unjust move when the motion would be presented before the House.
” I have not heard from my colleagues of any plans to impeach anybody or sharing of any money although they may not tell me. There is no smoke without fire anyway.
” But once it comes up on the floor of the House we will ask some pointed questions. They know me. Even though I am not from their party and shouldn’t even bother but we will not allow any act of injustice”.