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Pro-Fubara Speaker emerges as PDP rejects impeachment calls

Lawmakers loyal to the Rivers State Governor, Siminalayi Fubara, on Wednesday elected the member representing Bonny Constituency,   Victor  Oko-Jumbo as the Speaker of the state House of Assembly.

The pro-Fubara lawmakers disclosed this on Wednesday night in a statement by  Oko-Jumbo and a factional Clerk of the House, Dr. G. M. Gillis-West.

Oko-Jumbo emerged as the factional Speaker amid calls by the state All Progressives Congress Caretaker Committee and local government chairmen in the state for the impeachment of the governor who got the backing of the Peoples Democratic Party on Wednesday.

The PDP National Publicity Secretary, Debo Debo Ologunagba, at a press conference in Abuja, said the APC should perish the thought of  Fubara’s impeachment by the Assembly.

At the inception of the current session last year, the state House of Assembly elected Martin Amaewhule loyal to the Minister of Federal Capital Territory, Nyesom Wike, as the Speaker of the House.

However, the crisis in the state started later when the Assembly attempted to impeach the governor. The crisis worsened as the state Assembly complex was demolished by the state government, which said the building was defective.

The House was factionalised after Fubara’s loyalists elected  Eddison Ehie as the Speaker.

A truce initiated by President Bola Tinubu led to the resignation of  Ehie and factions ceased to exist in the Assembly.

Ehie was later appointed  the Chief of Staff at Rivers State Government House by the governor, while  Amaehule remained the Speaker leading the majority  members of the House of 27 loyal to  Wike

Lately, the crisis reignited after the state assembly vetoed Fubara to pass the state local government amended law which empowers the council chairmen to remain in office for another six months after the expiration of their tenure, should the governor fail to conduct local government elections.

Despite the governor’s objection, the assembly exerted its authority by passing two bills.

On Monday, Fubara denounced the assembly as an unlawful entity, asserting that he did not recognise them.

Furthermore, he maintained that the eight-point peace accord facilitated by the President was merely a political resolution rather than a constitutional matter.

Consequently, on Tuesday, the state APC Caretaker Committee Chairman, Chief Tony Okocha, urged the 27 members of the assembly aligned with the FCT minister to initiate impeachment proceedings against Fubara.

However, the crisis took another dimension on Wednesday as lawmakers loyal to the governor elected Jumbo as the Speaker.

The pro-Fubara faction in a statement by the new Speaker and Gillis-West, stated that Oko-Jumbo had emerged as the new Speaker.

 According to the statement, Oko-Jumbo was elected on Wednesday at 10 am during plenary, in line with the Standing Order of the House.

The statement added  Victor Oko-Jumbo in his acceptance speech thanked the members for electing him as the new Speaker.

Factional speaker

Oko-Jumbo called on  Fubara to henceforth discontinue any dealings with the 25 lawmakers.

He said: “This is in line with Section 92(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (CFRN 1999) as Amended.

“You will agree with me that after the House last sat on the 13th of December, 2023, and adjourned sine die, there has been an avalanche of legislative rascality perpetrated by the 25 former members of the 10th Rivers State House of Assembly, led by the former Speaker, Rt. Hon. Martin Chike Amaewhule.

“These former members, being fully aware of the provisions of Section 109(1)(g) of the CFRN 1999, defected from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Party (APC) on the 11th of December, 2023.

 “Consequently, the Rt. Hon. Edison Ogerenye Ehie-led Assembly, on the 13th of December, 2023, wrote to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), declaring the seats of the 25 lawmakers vacant in line with Section 109(1)(g) and (2) of the CFRN 1999.

 “My distinguished colleagues, there are a plethora of cases pending in our courts further to the defection of the former lawmakers.”

 “All laws, plenary sessions and actions taken by the illegal House members are hereby declared void and a nullity in the eyes of the law by the judgment of Lord Denning in the celebrated case of MacFoy v UAC (1961) 3 All ER 1169.

“Lord Denning held in that case that you cannot put something on nothing and expect it to stand. Particularly, Lord Denning stated: ‘If an act is void, then it is in law a nullity. It is not only bad but incurably bad. There is no need for an order of court to set it aside.

 “’It is automatically null and void without more ado, though it is sometimes more convenient to have the court declare it to be so’.”


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