Abia Assembly crisis deepens as factional speaker suspens embattled speaker Orji and six others



Ogbonnaya Ikokwu, Umuahia

The leadership crisis rocking the Abia State House of Assembly took different dimension on Wednesday as two factions of the House sat at two different locations in Umuahia the State capital.

The Punch reports that some members of the State Assembly sat at an undisclosed location and purportedly impeached the speaker Chief Chinedum Orji on Tuesday.

The group led by the deputy speaker Chief Ifeanyi Uchendu, aslo elected the member representing Umuahia East State constituency chief Chukwudi Apugo, as a new speaker.

But in in shift reaction the embattled speaker convened a plenary session of the House at the Assembly complex and suspended nine members of the House who were seen in a viral video of the purported session were he was reportedly impeached.

Those suspended through a motion moved by the member representing Umuahia South State constituency chief Jerry Uzosike were Rt Hon. Ifeanyi Uchendu
Rt Hon Kennedy Njoku, Rt. Hon Chikwendu Kalu, Hon. Chukwudi Apugo, Hon Aron Uzodike.
Other were Hon. Chijioke Chukwu,
Hon. A.C. Thomas Nkoro, Hon. Okey Igwe and Hon. Obinna Ichita.

The deputy speaker Uchendu was also impeached and replaced with the member representing Ohafia North state constituency chief Egwuonwu Obasi.

Orji, had called on the security agencies guiding the Assembly complex to deny the suspended members access to the facility.

But the faction of the House led by
Apugo, held another plenary on Wednesday, were it purportedly suspended Orji and majority leader Hon. Solomon Akpulonu.

He also suspended Hon. Paul Taribo (Ukwa East).
Hon. Mandela Obasi (Ohafia North)
Hon. Ginger Onwusibe (Isiala Ngwa North), Hon. Abraham Oba (Aba Central) Hon. Emeka Okoroafor (Isiukwuato) and Hon. Jerry Uzosike.

Apugo, alleged that it was illegal for the former Speaker to precide over the House of Assembly plenary having been removed from the Office ealier yesterday.

According to him, Orji siezed to be the Speaker of the House following his ealier impeachment by the majority of the house on account of gross misconduct and abuse of office in early hours of Tuesday.

He further explained that purported suspension and replacement of Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Uchendu as the Deputy Speaker and the purported suspension of some members of the House is glaringly illegal, null and void and of no effect whatsoever.

The faction in its plenary, elected Hon. Aaron Uzodike, member representing Aba North State Constituency as the new majority Leader.

Apugo, reaffirmed the dissolution of all House standing Committees. He however reconstituted the following Committees, namely:
Public Accounts
Local Government and Chieftancy Affairs and 4 Adhoc Committee on the review of the activities of the House.

The Appropriation and Public Account committees are to be chaired by Rt. Hon. Kennedy Njoku and Hon. Obinna Ichita respectively. While Local Government and Chieftancy Affairs and Adhoc Committee on review on House activities are to be chaired by Hon. Chijioke Chukwu and Rt. Hon. Chikwendu Kalu respectively.
Rt. Hon. Chukwudi Apugo also warned that the House would take legal actions against the suspended members if they go on to hold illegal plenaries.

He also advised Security Agencies in the State to stand firm in its defence of the Nigerian Constitution and not to patronize those violating the law.

Meanwhile Orji, also presided over a plenary session of the House with members loyal to him at the Assembly complex.