Awka, Nov.16, 2018
The National leadership of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) has expressed support for the Anambra chapter of the party over the suspension of three lawmakers in the state legislature.
Dr Victor Oye, the National Chairman of APGA, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Awka on Friday that the state chapter acted in line with the party’s constitution.
Chief Norbert Obi, the Chairman of the party in Anambra, on Thursday announced the suspension of three lawmakers including Mr Ikem Uzoezie, the new factional speaker of the Assembly.
Others were Mr Harford Oseke, the Deputy Speaker and Mr Victor Okoye, the Majority Leader of the House.
The chairman said their suspension followed their leading role in the impeachment of Hon. Rita Mmaduagwu as Speaker of Anambra State House of Assembly, without carrying the party along.
Oye described the purported impeachment as unfortunate, adding that they should have sought the approval of the party that gave them platform to become members of the House.
“What happened in the Anambra State House of Assembly (ANSHA) few days ago was unfortunate, the members did not consult the leadership of the party, they did not emerge members of the House from the moon.
“They were sponsored by the party, it was the party that won the election and they are now representing the party which is supreme and whatever they do the party must be carried along.
“None of them stood for election; the party did and nominated them to represent the interest of the party in the House, so they should not behave as if nobody controls them.
“Nobody discussed the removal of the speaker; they took that monumental decision when they know that they cannot muster the required number to do so.
“No consultation with the leadership of the party, governor of the state, there are rules that should govern what they do, there should be synergy; you don’t just act anyhow,” he said.
Oye said the three were suspended in the first instance, adding that the outcome of investigation would determine if other members would be visited with disciplinary actions
He said “whatever the State Working Committee of our party is doing enjoys our solid backing, they have the prerogative to suspend people who breach the constitution at that level.
“They acted in accordance with our constitution because the suspended members acted in such a way that showed that they were being teleguided by fifth columnists.”
The national chairman said there was no impeachment as the rules for removing a speaker were not followed.
“There was no impeachment in Anambra State House of Assembly because the rules were not followed; they were not able to muster the required number, the mace was not in place while the sitting was going on.
“You don’t remove a speaker with voice votes, there must be proper counting and you must serve the speaker with all her sins or infractions and the new speaker must be sworn in.
“So the rules were not followed,” he said.
Oye urged members of APGA to remain calm and key into the reconciliation process going on at the national and state levels.
Meanwhile, Mr Uzoezie, factional Speaker of the Assembly, has dismissed his suspension by the party as illegal and uninformed.
Uzoezie told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Awka on Friday that the leadership of APGA in Anambra did not follow the procedures for suspending party members.
It will be recalled that Chief Norbert Obi, Chairman of the party in the state, had on Nov. 15, announced the suspension of three lawmakers, including Uzoezie, the new speaker of the Assembly.
Others were Mr Harford Oseke, the Deputy Speaker and Mr Victor Okoye, the Majority Leader of the Assembly.
The chairman said their suspension followed their leading role in the impeachment saga where Mrs Rita Mmaduagwu was purportedly removed without carrying the party along.
Uzoezie said the party overreached its bounds as the events in the parliament were wholly internal to it, adding that members were at liberty to change their leaders who were not effective.
He said the party was supreme but noted that it had to do with party matters and not an independent institution like the parliament.
According to him, “I represent a constituency that has APGA and non-APGA members, so you cannot say we did not carry the party along.
“I have not been formally communicated, I only saw it in the media and my party members called me to tell me about it.
“All the same, I am a lawmaker who is versed in laws and procedure; the state chairman should have referred to the constitution of the party.
“I am one of the oldest members of the party, there are procedures for suspending members of a party, you don’t just wake up and suspend members, we are not in a Banana Republic.
“Every action must be guided by the rule of that organisation, if not, it amounts to a nullity; I am surprised by their action, I know they will rescind their action and good reason shall prevail.
“I agree that party is supreme, but that has to do with party matters so that argument does not hold water, besides, we are not in a parliamentary democracy where the party dictates.
“I want to dismiss the suspension as illegal and inconsequential,” he said.
The lawmaker said he was the new Speaker of ANHA as the change in leadership was a collective resolve of the majority of members.
He said Speakers were elected by members to serve their interest and when they are not doing the bidding of the generality of the House, they fire them and elect competent ones.
“As an independent body, the House of Assembly is at liberty to change its leadership if they are not performing, we are peers, co-equals, so it is purely internal to us.
“Those who say there is no change of leadership in ANHA, including the chairman are living in their own imagination but as it concerns us, we have removed our former Speaker.
“The impeachment stands and all other principal officers remain,” he said.
Also speaking to NAN, Mr Harford Oseke, Deputy Speaker of ANHA, noted that he was not aware of his purported suspension.
Oseke described the action against him as futile as there was no nexus between APGA and the ANHA, adding that he had not committed any crime against the party.
He said he would welcome the suspension with open arms and would not return to the party whenever he was formally notified.
“I will thank the chairman of APGA if they truly suspended me, what am I doing in APGA, they have killed APGA.
“I am not coming back if they actually suspended me, though I have not received their notice for my suspension, I only saw it on social media.
“What is the relationship between House of Assembly and APGA?
“I accept it in good fate, they have made things easy for me, I can now freely move to another party if I like APGA to deal with us,” he said.
In another development, the Police Command in Anambra has announced the sealing of the Assembly complex over the impeachment crisis.
SP Haruna Mohammed, Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) in Anambra disclosed this in a statement in Awka on Friday.
Mohammed said the application to seal off the complex was contained in an official letter to the Commissioner of Police.
“The Anambra State Police Command wishes to inform the public that it has sealed off the Assembly Complex with effect from 6:00pm of Thursday 15th November, 2018 as a proactive measure to avert possible breakdown of law and order in the Assembly,” he said.
The command implored members of the public to stay away from the complex until further notice.
It also solicited the co-operation of Anambra people in its commitment to provide adequate security in the state.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that there was strong police presence at the complex on Nov. 15 when the House resumed after the impeachment saga that rocked it on Nov. 13.
The house was divided between former Speaker Rita Mmaduagwu who was purportedly impeached and Mr Ikem Uzoezie who was installed as new speaker.