Abia Assembly Holds Parallel Sittings As Problem Continues.

 •I remain, Speaker, can’t be removed by cowards —Orji

The rift and supremacy battle rocking the Abia State House of Assembly deepened yesterday, as the two camps in the opprobrium held parallel sittings in different locations.

While the Speaker, Chinedum Orji and those loyal to him reportedly sat at the Assembly complex amid tight security, the parallel Speaker, Rt. Hon. Chukwudi Apugo, and lawmakers in his camp, met at an undisclosed location in Umuahia.Recall that some lawmakers had Tuesday met outside the assembly chambers and impeached the Speaker, accusing him of insensitivity over the welfare of the members.But the Speaker held a sitting in the House and impeached the Deputy Speaker, Ifeanyi Uchendu who presided over his purported impeachment.

He also suspended nine of the lawmakers who participated in the sitting where he was purportedly removed, dismissing the impeachment as a nullity.

Speaking with Vanguard in an exclusive interview yesterday, member representing Aba South state constituency, Hon Obinna Ichita (APGA), who is in Apugo’s camp, denied insinuations in some quarters that the lawmakers opposed to Orji were being sponsored by the Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu.

He said it would be strange for him to be bought over by the Governor who he had had frosty relationship with following his critical stance on his administrative style.

The opposition lawmaker explained that the reason behind Orji’s impeachment was because of his refusal to convene the House which had been under lock and key for four months.” Which House of Assembly in Nigeria has been under lock and key for four months? It’s not proper for you to lock the House of Assembly for the past four months. So, for the past four months, the House hasn’t sat, and that’s not appropriate.

“The Judiciary has collapsed, and you want the legislative arm to also collapse. And we have a struggling Executive arm.”

Ichita also spoke on some of the far-reaching decisions taken by the lawmakers led by Hon. Apugo when they met at the plenary.

” We met today ( Wednesday) and changed the Majority Leader, Hon. Solomon Akpulono. He was also suspended. The impeached speaker and all seven of them who met yesterday were suspended. 

“We suspended them for engaging in a purported plenary yesterday. They didn’t have the quorum. They were only seven. The new speaker has also dissolved all the standing committees of the House, and reconstituted the committees.Asked where the lawmakers loyal to Apugo met, and why they chose to sit outside the House of Assembly, Ichita said the venue of meeting for lawmakers did not matter.

Also asked if they had a mace which is the symbol of authority in their sitting, the lawmaker said:”If Hon. Orji says he is not happy with his impeachment what he should do is to approach the courts, and not to say he doesn’t accept it”.

When contacted, the speaker denied locking up the House for four months, explaining that it was the collective decision of the lawmakers to go on break.

TheSpeakerr, who spoke through his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Jude Ndukwe, said the splinter lawmakers were only looking for excuses to justify their unlawful actions.

He insisted that he remains the speaker of the Assembly describing his “purported impeachment and suspension by suspended lawmakers” as ridiculous.


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