â€¢ Sheriff Oborivworio is new Speaker, Osanebi remains Deputy Speaker
Omon-Julius Onabu in Asaba
There was a political drama at the Delta State House of Assembly thursday, the Speaker, Hon Monday Igbuya, representing Sapele Constituency in the assembly, was impeached by the state lawmakers.
Hon Sheriff Oboriovwori, representing Okpe constituency in the assembly, was immediately announced and duly took office as the new Speaker.
The Majority Leader of the assembly, Hon Tim Owhefere, representing Isoko North constituency, was also impeached and replaced by the lawmakers.
Hon. Johnson Erijo, representing Isoko South II constituency, was elected as the new Majority Leader of the assembly.
Meanwhile, A three-month suspension was also slammed on the impeached speaker while the deposed Majority Leader was suspended indefinitely.
Igbuyaâ€™s impeachment, which was perfected following a notice signed by 22 members of the assembly, was carried out at the sitting of the members at the hallowed chambers of the assembly which took place as early as 6a.m yesterday.
The meeting lasted for about 30 minutes and was attended by the members who moved against Igbuya and the Clerk of the assembly, Mrs. Lunda Ocholor, who was allegedly practically dragged off her early morning exercise still wearing her sportswear.
The plenary was presided over by the Deputy Speaker, Hon Friday Osanebi, with both the clerk and Sergeant-at-arm, the custodian of the mace of authority, in attendance.
Upon reconvening for the dayâ€™s business, Hon. Alphonsus Ojo, representing Ukwuani constituency, said the opening prayer, and subsequently, Mr. Johnson Erijo wielding a list of members and coming under matters of urgent public importance, moved for the removal of Igbuya as Speaker.
Erijo said Igbuyaâ€™s removal was necessitated by incompetence of the now impeached speaker, â€œhighhandedness and his unacceptable leadership style.â€
The motion was seconded by Mr. Peter Onwusanya, representing Oshimili South, and subsequently adopted unanimously, following which the Deputy Speaker who presided called for nomination of the new speaker.
Hon. Peter Onwusanya then nominated Hon Sheriff Oboriowori, Okpe constituency, seconded by Hon Daniel Mayuku, Warri South West, while Hon Efe Ofobruku, Uvwie, nominated Hon Eric Oharisi, Ughelli North two, seconded by Hon Daniel Yingi, Burutu one.
The second nominee, Eric Oharisi, then announced his stepping down for the first nominee, Oboriowori, who he described as an elder brother, commending the members that nominated him.
The Deputy Speaker then put the nomination of Oboriowori, who is from Delta Central as Igbuya, to vote and it was also unanimously carried.
Oboriowori was immediately sworn to relevant oaths of office and allegiance as Speaker by the Clerk of the assembly, Mrs. Lyna Ocholor.
In his acceptance speech, the new Speaker promised to adhere strictly to the rules of the assembly, saying as the first among equals, he will accord every member his due respect.
He added that he would not allow the integrity of the assembly to be depleted and called for the support of the assembly.
Oboriowori, immediately announced the dissolution of all standing committees of the assembly and this was followed by Onwusanya rising again to ask for the removal of Owhefere as the Majority Leader; then nominated Johnson Erijo as the new Majority Leader.
The motion was seconded by Hon Peter Uviejitobor, representing Udu constituency.
The new Majority Leader, Erijo, upon moving to his new seat, then moved for the suspension of the impeached Speaker and Majority Leader for three months. The motion was seconded by Oharisi, Ughelli North 2 and was unanimously adopted.
THISDAY however learnt that the plot to remove Igbuya as Speaker has been long in the works, with at least three aborted attempts made previously to impeach him.
Some members of the assembly, including Erijo, Mrs. Pat Ajudua, Mr. Reuben Izeze and Azuka Azaka, were at a time suspended for undisclosed reasons but which political observers believed was due to attempts to unseat Igbuya.
Meanwhile, the assembly eventually adjourned sitting to May 23, 2017.
Afterwards, the members then moved to Government House to immediately present the new Speaker and new Majority Leader to Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, who many believe was most likely in the know as to the plot to unseat Igbuya.
Meanwhile, two members of the assembly, earlier touted as possible successors to Igbuya, Miss Erhiatke Ibori, who is the daughter of ex-Governor James Ibori, representing Ethiope West, and Izeze, representing Ughelli South, were reportedly dropped for immaturity and youthful exuberance respectively.
Nonetheless, there was unusual jubilation at the premises of the assembly following news of the impeachment of Igbuya with some members and workers openly pumping champagne and dancing to imaginary drumbeats.
Speaking in an interview with THISDAY yesterday afternoon, the Chairman of the state chapter of the Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria (PASAN), Emmanuel Edozie, said as civil servants, members of the association were not really concerned with how the politicians or elected legislators went about choosing their leaders.
While assuring on the readiness of the workers to cooperate with the new speaker and the entire leadership of the assembly, Edozie admitted that the impeached speaker had certain issues with the assembly workers bordering on their welfare.
The most important issue that was still lingering before Igbuyaâ€™s removal is the position of the Deputy Chief Clerk of the assembly, a position that had been vacant since June 2015 but into which Igbuya reportedly imposed someone said to be unqualified in March this year.
â€œIgbuyaâ€™s sin was that he appointed somebody from his own constituency as deputy chief clerk who is not qualified as he is on Level 13, whereas the law says only a person on Level 14 and above should occupy that position,â€ a jubilant assembly worker also told THISDAY.
It was further learnt that Igbuya as Speaker, exhibited apparently unfriendly disposition to the ordinary workers in the assembly by refusing to hold a single meeting with them all the while he presided over the affairs of the state legislature and failing to approve any training programme for them.