Emergence of ‘New Speaker’ Illegal, Says A’Ibom Assembly

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Okon Bassey in Uyo

Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly has declared the purported emergence of Mr. Nse Ntuen, as a new Speaker of the Assembly as illegal and urged the people of the state to ignore him.

Following the declaration of the seat of five members of the Assembly vacant on Monday, a cross section of members were said to have elected Ntuen representing Essien Udim state constituency as the new Speaker on the same day.

But yesterday, the Chairman, House Committee on Information of the Assembly, Mr. Imeh Okon, accused Ntuen and two other ousted members from the Assembly of breaking into the chambers without the mace and announcing him (Ntuen) as the new Speaker.

Okon in a statement said the Assembly would continue to uphold the rule of law and would use all constitutional means to ensure that the sanctity of the legislature in the state is upheld.

“We are informed that the former member of Essien Udim State constituency with two other ousted members, unlawfully broke into the chambers after the close of plenary to announce himself the new Speaker of AKHA. This is clearly an illegality unbecoming of former honourable members.

“A close view of the video of their purported sitting that has now gone viral betrays their level of frustration and ignorance of parliamentary rules and conventions.

“It is important to state that what happened bears grave consequences for the sanctity of the house and the legislative arm of government which remains the undisputed symbol of our democracy.

Okon explained that one of the members, Mr. Idongesit Ituen representing Itu State Constituency had already been ousted from the House by a federal High Court in Uyo saying the Speaker merely effected the order of the Court and acted according to the provisions of the law by declaring his seat and that of others vacant.

“We should be reminded that it was the said former member who took out an action in the Federal High Court to restrain the Speaker from declaring his seat vacant following his defection from the party that brought him to office to another party. His claim failed in court but the counter claim of the Speaker succeeded and the court ordered the Speaker to declare his seat vacant.

“As a lawyer, a law maker and a law abiding citizen, the Speaker accordingly gave effect to the court order. It is therefore preposterous that the same person who took out an action in court could resort to self-help when the judgment of the court went against him.

“The honourable and civilised thing to do is to appeal against that judgment. For the avoidance of doubt, such an appeal does not serve as a stay of execution.”

The image maker of the Assembly insisted that the decision of the House to declare vacant, seats of members who had defected to other parties, was in line with constitutional provisions as captured in Section 109 (1)g of the 1999 constitution as amended and given legal interpretation in decided cases including the very recent case of Idongesit Ituen versus Speaker AkHA.

He said “In the specific case of Itu state constituency seat, the speaker merely followed an order of court which was served on him by the Federal High Court demanding the immediate declaration of that seat vacant.”

The State Publicity Secretary of APC, Mr. Nkereuwem Enyongekere, said PDP desperately accused APC of sponsoring youths to invade the premises of the State House of Assembly with the sole aim of disrupting the removal processes of the members who recently moved to our party from the PDP.

“The PDP should know that APC as a party which believes in the rule of law and due process cannot condescend from its pedestal of integrity to wallow in mire of illegalities and irresponsibility with the PDP, a party that has no room for decency. We expect the law to take its course in what is happening in our State House of Assembly.

“We are watching the unfolding scenarios in the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly with great concern. At appropriate time, the party will make its position categorically clear.

“For now, we call on our members within and outside Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly to be law-abiding while the matter is being reported to the security agencies to maintain peace in the state as this is our major concern as the party of change.

APC, as a democratic party, will never resort to the use of force, violence or tow the path of war in its effort to accede any political party.

“Our plan for the taking over from the already failed government is going to be through genuine democratic processes as outlined in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“So we reject in totality, such unsubstantiated attribution which is typical of PDP culture: for it is well known for its antics in smuggling problem to where there was none, then shift the blame to innocent party just to garner cheap political sympathy to itself.

“We disassociate ourselves from any act of negativity, and call on the public to discountenance such false publication made by a drowning party that is fast losing its grips on Akwa Ibom political space.” Enyongekere stated.