Following the alleged recognition of Chinedu Nwamba by Governor Sullivan Chime as factional Speaker of the Enugu State House of Assembly, the substantive Speaker, Rt. Hon. Eugene Odo, Friday, lambasted the governor for dividing the House.
Odo was reacting to a visit by the nine alleged dissident members of the House led by the Chinedu Nwamba and the state Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leadership to Governor Sullivan Chime, Thursday.
Addressing journalists at his Enugu residence, Friday, Odo described the purported presentation of the new Speaker to the state PDP leadership and the Governor as a mere charade and exercise in futility.
Odo insisted that he still has the total support and loyalty of 15 majority honourable members of the House and therefore remains the Speaker of the Enugu State House of Assembly.
He said it was unfortunate that the party chairman had to congratulate a Speaker that was elected by only seven members, thereby dividing the party further.
“To crown it all, the father of the state who is the Governor, syndicated the presentation of a speaker that was elected unlawfully. That is not our expectation of what democracy should look like.
“In a House of 24, one would have expected that to remove a speaker is a legitimate process, but at least removal of the speaker should meet the requirements of the constitution.
“By virtue of Section 92 (1) c of our constitution, it states as follows: ‘That the Speaker of Deputy Speaker of the House of Assembly shall vacate his office if he is removed from office by a resolution of the House of Assembly by the votes of not less than two thirds majority of members of the House’.
“Enugu State House of Assembly has 24 members. Two thirds majority of 24 members of the House is 16 voting excluding the person who is presiding. If you add the person, you are talking about 17 members.
“And we have found ourselves in a situation where only eight members and of course, if you exclude the presiding officer, we will be probably talking about a situation where only seven members sat under the watch of the Deputy Speaker, even when the Speaker did not travel” he said.
Odo noted that under the House rules, the Deputy Speaker could only preside when the Speaker was not around, but in this case, the Deputy Speaker presided with infinitesimal minority and the executive that should implement the laws of the land and the constitution of the country joined in encouraging impunity in Enugu State.
He regretted that those who should protect the law and order and rule of law in the state are the ones violating it.
The Speaker therefore called on the Nigerian Police, the Department of State Security and the military to intervene in Enugu State to stop the dangerous slide, warning that they are trying to lay a foundation that may consume them and even their children tomorrow.
“We want to appeal to conscience of entire Enugu people to rise up to the challenge. It is not about Eugene Odo. It is about democracy. It is about the future of our state. It is about God himself. We want to state categorically clear that I remain Speaker of Enugu State House of Assembly,” Odo said.