Ebonyi assembly crisis: New deputy speaker breaks silence

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The newly installed deputy Speaker of the Ebonyi State House of Assembly, Rt Hon. Ikoro Kingsley Ogbonnia, has advised Ebonyians, especially the youth, not to allow themselves to be used by selfish politicians to cause problems in the state.

Addressing the press Thursday in Abakaliki, the member representing Afikpo North West Constituency in the Ebonyi State House of Assembly said many selfish politicians were fond of using youths to cause problems in the state by introducing violence in politics, but would conveniently take their children abroad and away from the scene of violence.

Ikoro lamented that ignorant youths were killed during political violence, with the old generation of politicians telling them that they are leaders of tomorrow, but will continue denying the youth political opportunities, except to use them as thugs.

He advised the youth to tell politicians to hand over guns to their children and relatives to come and participate in the political violence they (the politicians) like to introduce in Ebonyi State; if really they mean well for them, instead of turning the youth into political thugs to be abandoned at the end of every election.

The deputy speaker urged the youth to take their pride of place in Ebonyi state politics, emancipate themselves from mental slavery and put an end to being used by politicians to achieve their personal, nefarious objectives.

He said: “We should be mindful of what we do today, because what we do today will come to haunt us tomorrow. The state belongs to all of us. We should be careful in any political position we find ourselves today, because there is a tomorrow. Any office we occupy today belongs to the people.

“With regards to Hon. Lilian Ngozi Eziulo lying against the House and claiming that her handwritten defection letter was forged, we will go to court. They will hire forensic experts to look at the handwritten letter and see if it was forged. They will look at it and prove the House wrong. In everything you do, you should have integrity. Anybody who does not have integrity is not qualified to be a leader.

“It is a grave allegation for you to say that the Speaker of the House, an Honourable Member, forged a document. It is a criminal offence. So, the legal unit of the House will take it up with them on the matter of defamation that is related to the House. The letter is not typed, but handwritten, so we will forward it to the court to look at. I am sure it will be difficult for somebody to change his or her handwriting overnight.

“The former Deputy Speaker alleged at some point that we forged his resignation letter. Did we also forge his APC registration form at his ward? To journalists, I will advise you involve yourselves in investigative journalism. A journalist has once been a president of this country, in the person of Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, who established the West African Pilot in 1937. They involved themselves in investigative journalism at that time. You do not print what you don’t know. We should restore the integrity of journalism. When you get news, you should investigative it.

“Don’t get paid to slander people. If Nnamdi Azikiwe had taken money to slander people, he wouldn’t have gotten to where he got. Anybody can be anything in this world. A journalist can be a president, house member, speaker; anything. But you have to build integrity. What kept the West African Pilot by Nnamdi Azikiwe was integrity. So, I plead with all Ebonyians to keep calm; the law will take its course.”

He added: “I am not given to disrespecting elders. I have high respect for the former Senate President, former SGF, who is our own, our brother, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim. But he has gone online and on air to make a joking and unfounded statement about the members of this hallowed chambers. In response to that, this House has come together to make a statement, duly signed by the 15 APC members of the House.

“We should not encourage violence in our land. This country, state belongs to all of us. When these people tell you to go and kill this or that person, tell the person to bring his son. You have sons and brothers, give the gun to them to go and kill for you.

“I know what happened during the time of his Senate Presidency and when Dr Sam Egwu was the governor of the state. Many lives were lost. Today, they are romancing; how about those who died in that cause? Ejim Igbo na asi ozo emena (May another not happen). No person should use another Ebonyian against each other. We say NO. If you want, go and call your son. You take your sons abroad, put them in the best universities and use other people’s sons to fight. When they kill them, you say it is politics.

“We should learn to do politics with conscience. Politics could be a means, but it is never an end. Power belongs to God. Whatever you do in this world, you must have a conscience and thing about the human and the God factor.

“Power belongs to God. Is it when we become old men that we will take over power? They are getting older and telling us we should wait for the turn of the youth. How can there be youth leadership, when the old politicians want to cling to power? Ebonyi belongs to all of us, nobody should use us against one another. They only remember us during the time of election. After election, they will not call us again. We say no to violence in Ebonyi state.”

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