29 June 2000

Nigeria: Abia Speaker Impeached

Lagos — The political crisis generated by the purported move by the Abia State Assembly to impeach the Governor, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu has backturned as the Speaker of the House, Mr. Christopher Enweremadu, was yesterday impeached.

Enweremadu, son of the paramount ruler of Ngwaukwu in Isiala North Local Government Area, Eze Bernard Enweremadu, was immediately replaced with Mr. Stanley Ohajuruka from Umuahia Central in an election which also saw Mr. Emeka Stanley from Ukwa East, becoming the deputy speaker.

Before now, the position of the deputy speaker was occupied by Mr. Nnamdi Egege (Aba Central).

The election was said to have been held on the ruins of the vandalised Assembly complex and that only nine of the 24-member legislature participated in the election.

However, the mace of the Assembly, purportedly removed the previous day during a violent demonstration, reappeared while the clerk and the sergeant-at-arms of the House presided over proceedings which lasted for few minutes. The clerk of the House in an opening speech, said the House had formed quorum because the number of lawmakers present had exceeded the constitutional requirements of one third majority.

Motion for the election was moved by Mr. Matthew Ibe, (Umunneochi) and was seconded by Mrs. Blessing Azuru (Aba North).

A press release issued from the House said the change has become necessary given the total lack of trust and confidence by the people of Abia State as shown last Monday through a spontaneous reaction in which the people registered their disaffection and displeasure with the conduct of the House since its inception.

Another member, Chief Orji Lekwauwa had earlier said that since nature abhors a vacuum, the House would not wait on end for the former speaker to show up for the day's deliberations and as such a new speaker had to be elected.

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