Akwa Ibom State House Of Assembly Complex
Sack and Counter Sack is the order of the day now in the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly as the Speaker of the Assembly announces the sacking of 5 members of the Assembly for daring to defect from the ruling Peoples’ Democratic Party PDP to the opposition All Progressive Congress APC.
This action was to attract a reaction as the five sacked members, in turn, announce the sacking of the speaker as well as other principal members of the assembly. This scenario has reverberated throughout the state leaving the residents perplexed as to what will be the outcome of a drawn-out power tussle in the state legislative house.
The speaker Mr Onofiok Luke had earlier on declared the seats of four members who defected from the PDP to the APC vacant while the fifth member who was also expelled from the house for the same reason had his suit seeking to stop the speaker from declaring his seat vacant thrown out.
Hon Onofiok Luke, Speaker, Akwa Ibom House of Assembly
The five affected lawmakers include Nse Ntuen representing Essien Udim State Constituency, Oto-Obong Ndem representing Mkpat Enin State Constituency, Victor Udofia representing Ikono State Constituency, Gabriel Toby, Etim Ekpo /Ika Constituency.
Mr Idongesit Ituen representing Itu Constituency went to court but failed to stop the court from declaring his seat vacant by the speaker. Despite demonstrators by some APC youths against the House’s sacking of the 5 APC house members, the Speaker has refused to budge.
Affirming his decision to declare all the five members who decamped from the PDP to APC vacant, the Speaker said his decision was guided by the provisions of the 1999 constitution.
Youths Protesting at the House Of Assembly
The ruling party PDP in the state has also thrown its weight behind the speaker insisting that he was strictly following the constitution by declaring the seats of the affected legislators vacant.
According to Ini Ememobong, the spokesman for the PDP “As a law-abiding party we commend the speaker for respecting the constitution without fear or favour. In our state, this scenario is not nouveau as the seat of the assemblymen who defected to the APC in 2014 were declared vacant”
“The Akwa Ibom state House of Assembly has always been a law abiding institution and therefore under the current speakership of comrade Onofiok Luke, it cannot afford to dwell in illegalities, He added.
The House in Session
Meanwhile, a drama was to ensue thereafter when the five members expelled from the house addressed a press conference and announced the removal of the speaker while appointing one of them as the new speaker.
Speaking to newsmen on Monday after the announcement, the purported “new speaker” Mr Nse Ntuen, representing Essien Udim Local Government Area, said the members of the house has lost confidence in the leadership of the speaker Onofiok Luke hence the decision to replace him.
He did not, however, disclose whether it was the full house that took the decision or only 5 members out of the 26 members.
Nse Ntuen feeling the impact of their sacking from the House for defecting to the APC took time to condemn the action as illegal, null and void as there was a subsisting court order restraining the assembly from declaring their seats vacant.