Ebonyi Assembly to get new speaker, principal officers

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The eight members of Ebonyi State House of Assembly who are of the People’s Democratic Part (PDP) Thursday said they will soon elect new speaker and other principal officers.

The lawmakers made up of Chris Usulor representing Ezza South constituency, Ali Okechukwu (Ishielu North), Franca Okpo (Abakaliki North), Victor Aleke (Ebonyi West), Chidi Ejem, Oliver Osi, Lilian Ngozi Eziuloh and Nwuruku faulted the acclaimed leadership of the Assembly led by Francis Nwifuru saying they were among the 16 APC lawmakers sacked by a Federal High Court in Abuja.

The member representing Ivo constituency in state Assembly, Hon. Oliver Osi, disclosed this to journalists during a joint briefing by the PDP lawmakers in Abakaliki.

He said, “It’s no longer news that on March 8, 2022, the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja and presided over by Justice Inyang Ekwo, in a landmark judgement, ruled that 16 persons who were at that time members of the Ebonyi State House of Assembly had ceased to be members of the House having abandon their mandate and resigned their membership by their voluntary defection from the PDP to the All Progressives Congress, in November 2020.

The effect of this is that the following persons from the date of the ruling of March 8, 2022, are no longer members of the Ebonyi State House of Assembly: Hon. Francis Nwifuru; Kingsley Ikoro Ogbonna; Benjamin Ezeoma; Onu Nwonye; Nkemka Okoro Onuma; Anthony Nwegede; Chinedu Onah; Chinedu Awo, among others.

“It is pertinent for the general public particularly Ndi Ebonyi to note that up till today, March 16, 2022, the judgement has neither been successfully appealed nor has a stay on execution granted in respect of same.

“However, in a deliberate attempt to undermine the judiciary and ridicule the extant ruling of His Lordship, Justice Ekwo, Hon. Nwifuru, aided by the police personnel of Ebonyi State, led 14 others of the aforementioned former members (excluding Hon. Odefa Odefa) to invade the hallowed chambers of the Ebonyi State House of Assembly, purportedly declared vacant the seats of three members (Victor Aleke; Mrs Franca Okpo and Ali Okechukwu), then adjourned sitting for three months.

“The House has since instructed its legal team to commence contempt of Court proceedings against the aforementioned imposters.

“We make bold to say that neither the former speaker , Hon Francis Nwifuru nor indeed any of the aforementioned former members of the EBHA possesses the power, authority or right to declare the seat of any member vacant or to adjourn the sitting of the House or act howsoever in the office of the Speaker or member of the EBHA, having resigned their membership and being validly removed from office by the extant judgement of a Court of competent jurisdiction.

“While I implore Ndi Ebonyi to continue to exercise restraint in the face of serial flagrant abuse and insult to our collective sensibilities, I want to assure all Ebonyi people and residents that the Ebonyi State House of Assembly will soon sit to elect new Principal Officers and then continue with their legislative functions of lawmaking, oversight and representation.”

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