The Ebonyi State House of Assembly has been in the news lately, with impeachment, alleged resignation from the House and curious declaration of seats vacant.
For many, who do not know the background history of these actions, it looked curious how three lawmakers, including the sitting Deputy Speaker of the House, will, without any reasonable cause, resign their membership of the House, in a nation where politicians, practice all the tricks in the world to ensure they remain in office, except those with an ambition for higher office.
However, on February 21, 2022, the Ebonyi State House of Assembly declared the seat of the Deputy Speaker of the House, Hon. Odefa Obasi Odefa vacant, following his alleged resignation as a member of the House of Assembly.
Odefa was not the only one whose seat was declared vacant, as two other members, who were said to have defected from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressive Congress (APC), Mr Oliver Osi, representing Ivo State Constituency and Mrs Ngozi Ezilo representing Afikpo North East constituency, had their supposed letters read on the floor of the House of Assembly.
According to the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Francis Nwifuru, the duo also resigned their membership of the State House of Assembly.
In a swift reaction, Odefa Obasi Odefa, decribed his purported resignation and declaration of his seat vacant as ‘Monkey Child’s Play’
“Why will I resign? It’s a monkey child’s Play. It is only going to be by Recall. I have not participated in any Congress organized by APC. I didn’t resign.
“I do not belong to the APC. If you represent your people, it’s your people that will decide. No man is God. The House realized that they do not have 2/3 majority to effect my impeachment and that’s why they alleged that I resigned. That’s what happened. Why will I resign? Is it that am mentally deranged?
“Did INEC give any other member a certificate of return? It’s now a legal issue. They plan to kill me. They are planning bloodshed. They cannot kill me because they didn’t create me. I chose to be in PDP
“I have been threatened that I will be kidnapped and not be seen. Everything has to be by the law. Nobody’s life is worth any political position. They lack the power to forge a letter and read it on the floor of the House. I remained the Deputy Speaker of the Ebonyi Assembly. I have written to security agencies over the threat I received after the news of my press conference went viral”, Odefa said.
Also debunking news of his defection from PDP to APC and eventual resignation from the Assembly, Hon Osi said: “Are my daydreaming to resign? It’s not normal. They have denied me my entitlements. My official car and what is meant for my constituents have been denied me. If I am to ever resign from PDP, I have to read the letter by myself and the house will vote in that regard. This is desperation. This is a kind of madness.”
On her part, Hon Ngozi Eziulo said at a press briefing in Abakaliki, the state capital on Tuesday: “I never wrote the letter and can never write such letter. I am still wondering how they came about such a letter. That letter is a forgery. If they said I have resigned, let them bring such a letter let me see it with my signature.
“I am considering legal action because that letter is forged and you know forgery is a criminal offence”.
Hon Eziulo, also during the press briefing, provided an insight into why the House is taking on them and declaring their seats vacant. According to her, it is because of their refusal to follow the state governor, David Umahi to APC.
She alleged that she has not been paid her salary and other entitlements since Governor David Umahi defected to APC even as she refused to join the APC.
“Ever since the Governor defected, I have not been paid my entitlement including salary. When I asked, they said their reason is that I have not joined them in APC, that once I join, they will start paying. I told them if that is the condition, I will never join and they are still holding on to it”, she said.
The treatment metted to Ngozi Eziulo seems to be the standard practice in the state House of Assembly, deny them of their entitlements so they have no option than to give in and join the imperial Umahi in his new party!
One thing that however remained curious in the magical Adabcadabra of the Ebonyi House of Assembly is why will the three honourable members resign their membership of the House if they had done the needful and defected to the APC from PDP, according to the letters read on the floor of the House?
It remained contradictory, and lacking in all commonsense for the embattled Deputy Speaker and others to resign from the House after meeting the one and only condition they were given!
It is also disheartening that the Ebonyi State House of Assembly, will allow itself to be involved in a fraud of this nature through forgery of the said letters, if the claims of the affected lawmakers are true, just to satisfy the whims and caprices of an emperor Governor, who overtime, especially since defecting to APC, has shown traces of intolerance to opposition of any kind.
It is also no doubt, an act of lawlessness for the House to deny the affected lawmakers their entitlements and ostracise them just because they refused to switch parties.
By these actions, the Ebonyi State House of Assembly has only, actively shown that they are lawless, fraudulent and undemocratic, and by extention, disqualified Governor Umahi, on whose order they are believed to have engaged in this undemocratic acts, of becoming Nigeria’s President. A governor who cannot stand opposition will certainly become a disaster as President!
Stories of Governor Umahi’s emperor like actions are daily becoming legendary, as he has marked everyone who refused to engage in acts of betrayal against PDP. Many were summarily dismissed from their political appointments, while the state publicity secretary for PDP, Chika Nwoba has remained in detention allegedly on the orders of Umahi for more than a month.
Nwoba’s offence is said to be peddling fake news on Facebook, an act supposedly carried out in the discharge of his duties as an opposition spokesman.
Nigerians must be alert to the dangers of electing anyone who do not see opposition as a right in a democracy or views opposition figures and members as irritants to must be dealt with using every trick in the books. That’s what Governor David Umahi represents!