From Chuks Onuoha, Umuahia.
The Speaker of Abia State House of Assembly, Martins Azubuike has been impeached and Bishop Kennedy Njoku elected as the new Speaker.
The impeachment exercise in the House was presided by the Deputy Speaker, Cosmos Ndukwe, while the Clerk of the House, Mr Pedro Irokansi oversaw the affairs of the House in session.
Moving the motion for his impeachment, Solomon Akpulonu, Deputy Majority Leader in Abia House of Assembly, from Obingwa East State Constituency read out five-point-allegation against the former speaker.
The allegations were that the former speaker lacked the character of transparence and accountability of public fund in his custody; that he did not ensure equitable distribution of position and power among members of Abia State House of Assembly, that he remained insensitive to the rights and needs of members and staff of Abia House of Assembly, and that he abused the office of the speaker by using same to further his personal interest.
The House stated that pursuant to Section 92, Sub-section 2.C of 1999 Constitution, members of Abia state House of Assembly resolved to remove Martins Azubuike, member, representing Isiala Ngwa north as Speaker at Abia State House of Assembly.
Out of 24 members in the House, 20 signed in support of the impeachment of the former speaker, leaving out only three members who did not sign.
Speaking after signing the impeachment documents, Cosmos Ndukwe told the House that the mandatory two-third of members needed before impeachment could be carried out was 16 members, while they had 24 members in support.
Azubuike was, therefore, impeached and his position replaced by Njoku who was made to take oath of allegiance at the floor of the House without delay.
Ndukwe said by 24 members assenting their signatures, the House had exceeded the 16 members required by the constitution, “and having received this matter of urgent importance, I, hereby, call for a member to nominate someone for the election of a new speaker.”
Speaking before the nomination of a new speaker, the Clerk of the House, Mr Pedro Irokansi told the lawmakers that the constitution did not permit a vacuum nor recognise the position of acting speaker.
He called for nomination and, at this juncture, the member representing Osisioma Ngwa North state Constituency, Kennedy Njoku was nominated by Chibuzo Okogbuo, representing Bende South state constituency in the House.
The election was eventually conducted between Njoku and another nominee and Njoku emerged the winner by 16 votes against three for his opponent. The house eventually adjourned.
A House of Assembly source told Daily Sun that the speaker, who contested his impeachment strongly with other members, eventually stormed out of the House with one of the maces, but the House used another mace to conduct the impeachment.