By Ogochukwu Isioma
With barely one month to the end of his (second) tenure, the Governor of Abia State, Okezie Ikpeazu has sought to intervene in the crisis rocking the State House of Assembly, following the impeachment of the embattled Speaker, Chinedum Orji.
METROWATCHXTRA.COM reports that Orji was Tuesday morning impeached by 18 of the 24-member House at a plenary held outside the Assembly’s complex in Umuahia, the state capital, over “his insensitivity to the welfare of members and other sundry activities”.
Chukwudi Apugo (Umuahia East) moved the motion for Orji’s removal as Speaker, which was seconded by Chijioke Chukwu (Bende North — Minority Leader), at the plenary presided over by the Deputy Speaker, Ifeanyi Uchendu. The members thereafter announced Apugo as their new Speaker.
But, hours after the impeachment, Orji convened an emergency plenary session at the assembly complex, where 9 members, including himself, announced the immediate suspension of 9 out of the 18 lawmakers who physically participated in his (Orji’s) impeachment proceedings earlier in the day.
They include the Deputy Speaker, Uchendu; the new speaker, Apugu, who moved the motion for impeachment; and seconder, Chukwu. While the lawmakers were suspended for one month with no benefits, the remaining 9 members whose signatures were allegedly obtained were exonerated, pending further investigations.
The development has since plunge Abia and the State Assembly into confusion, unending crisis and controversy with two factional speakers now laying claim to the parliament’s leadership, with barely one month to end of the current assembly.
Reacting, Governor Ikpeazu in a statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary (CPS), Onyebuchi Ememanka, on Tuesday, in Umuahia, offered to mediate in the crisis rocking the State Parliament, while restating that Orji remains Speaker.
He said with barely less than one month to the end of his administration and the ushering of a new administration, it will absolutely make no sense to engage in any issue that is likely to plunge the State into any form of confusion.
According to the Governor, his main pre-occupation at the moment is how to pilot the Ship of State peacefully and steadily into the new administration and tie up all administrative matters including the completion of key projects.
“The Governor, therefore, does not have the luxury of time and resources for any crisis at the moment. Above all, the mood in the State makes any such move inexpedient,” CPS Ememanka said.
He, however, appealed to the embattled Speaker Chinedum Orji and other members of the State Parliament to maintain the peace and allow reason and patriotism to guide their actions.
Meanwhile, METROWATCHXTRA.COM learned that Governor Ikpeazu is set to meet with members of the State House of Assembly, over the crisis rocking the parliament.