Abia Assembly Crisis: Obey House rules for peace to reign, suspended PDP lawmaker tells Embattled Speaker | #NwokeukwuMascot
Member representing Obingwa East State Constituency in the Abia State House of Assembly, Chief Solomon Akpulonu , has tasked the Speaker of the Assembly, Mr. Emmanuel Emeruwa, to obey the rules of the House which stipulates that the majority party shall occupy the majority positions in the Assembly.
The PDP has 11 members, LP 10, while the YPP has 2 and APC 1 in the 24 member Assembly.
Emeruwa had during plenary on Tuesday, accused Akpulonu of ‘granting interviews to journalists over the affairs of the House without clearance from the leadership’ and announced his suspension for 14 sitting days.
The House has been embroiled in crisis since the Speaker announced Hon. Uchenna Okoro, of the minority Labour Party as the majority leader of the House. The PDP led by Akpulonu has been staging walkouts during sittings over the situation.
In an interview with Vanguard, Akpulonu advised the speaker to comply with the rules of the House and allow the PDP to produce the majority PDP to produce the majority leader, deputy majority leader; chief whip and deputy chief whip positions.
The PDP lawmaker, who is a former majority leader of the House, explained that he is the highest ranking member in the House and would not sit by and allow rules to be violated, and vowed that he would not be intimidated by anybody from expressing his rights which are protected by the Nigerian constitution.
His words; “Let the speaker do the right by obeying the laws and rules of the House. Abia state House of Assembly can’t operate in isolation. Let the speaker reach out to his colleagues nationwide or consult his predecessors like Sir Stanley Ohajuruka, Chief Agwu U. Agwu, Sir Ude Oko Chukwu and Engr. Chinedum Orji, they will guide him on how to ensure peace in the House.
“We have the rules of the House which stipulates who occupies which position in the House. The problem is that the Labour party which is the minority party in the House wants to take the position of the PDP which is the majority party. And the PDP won’t allow its rightful positions to be taken away.
“It appears that the Labour party and the speaker are afraid of my name as a principal officer of the House. If my name is the problem in the nominations, I have pleaded with my party to nominate another lawmaker to serve if that will bring peace and make the speaker read out the list from the PDP leadership. Let the PDP occupy its rightful majority positions.
“I’m not worried by the suspension, that’s the price I have to pay for the right thing to be done. I only want the right thing to be done. The PDP has submitted the names of those it nominated for the majority party but the speaker has refused to read out the names. There is no way the majority party can overnight become the minority party in the House, we won’t accept that.
“I served under former governors of the State including Senator Orji Kalu, Senator Theodore Orji, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, and now Gov. Alex Otti, I’m aware of my rights and privileges as an experienced lawmaker. There is no law which states that journalists cannot seek interview from a lawmaker over a contentious issue in the House, especially when the rights of my party are being denied. I don’t need to get approval from anybody before speaking against injustice because I only want things to be done right. What I did was within the ambits of the law. The PDP lawmakers have never fought anyone; we have always done our agitations peacefully. So, there was no basis for my suspension.
“It is unfortunate that the Speaker has started on a wrong side, he has to note that a lawmaker or party has the right to agitate provided it is within the ambit of the law. Some members of the PDP and Labour Party too have granted interviews without getting clearance from the leadership House. So, it appears there are other issues over my suspension which the speaker is yet to disclose. I have also hear rumors that I was suspended because I’m fighting Governor Alex Otti.
“Those who say I’m fighting the Governor are missing the point. I’m not fighting anybody; I don’t have the capacity to fight a Governor but I want him to govern Abia in peace. I only want the peace and development of my state because if the House of Assembly is in turmoil, there won’t be any development.”