By Olisemeka Obeche & Okechukwu Onuegbu
The crisis rocking the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly may have taken a spiritual, dimension with combatants resorting to diabolical means to settle scores. This follows the discovery of a dead owl on the seat of Speaker on Thursday.
Nse Ntuen, whose seat was declared vacant alongside four other house members all of who defected to the All Progressives Congress, APC alongside immediate past Governor Senator Godswill Akpabio, was chased away from the seat on Tuesday while presiding as Speaker of the five member-APC faction. The ill-fated session was allegedly convened to kick-start an impeachment proceeding against state governor, Udom Emmanuel. Before then, Ntuen, who had announced the suspension of Speaker Onofiok Luke, who has 21 members (out of the 26-member House), is currently taking treatment for the injuries he was said to have sustained after he was roughed up by the larger group.
It is not known how the strange bird found its way into the speaker’s seat or whom, between the two, it was directed at, but the Luke camp is accusing Ntuen and his group of trying to eliminate the speaker by diabolic means.
Reports, quoting a source, said the bird, an owl (referred to as Nkirikid) was found early Thursday inside the House of Assembly Chamber on Luke’s seat and possibedly procured from the Ikrok’s shrine at Urua Akpan in Essien Udim, through one of the camps in the dispute. The APC governorship candidate in next year’s governorship election, Nsima Ekere, belongs to the same camp as Akpabio.
Luke, according to the report, is seen as the major backbone of the state governor, Udom Emmanuel and those after him believe that eliminating him would make the governor an easy prey.
The source was reported to have claimed that the grand design was to “either diabolically or brutally eliminate influential key personalities in the PDP who are the back bone of Governor Emmanuel before the end of December.”
It added: “This charm, according to the source, was done in anticipation of the house sitting today for the commemoration sitting in honour of the late member who represented Ikono State Constituency in the 4th Assembly, Dr. Clement Bassey.”
Meanwhile, in the Anambra state House of Assembly, the leadership crisis took a dramatic twist on Thursday as both the embattled speaker, Hon. Rita Maduagwu and her challenger, Ikem Uzoezie laid claims to the seat of power. Orient Weekend correspondent reported that, hours after the Anambra State Police Command unsealed the legislative complex, Maduagwu stormed the chamber and headed for the speaker’s seat and addressed the few members of her faction who were already seated. Barely five minutes later, however, Maduagwu vacated the seat and away from the chamber when she sighted Uzoezie and members of his faction as they made their way through the main entrance into the chamber.
Uzoezie proceeded to the speaker’s seat and began to preside over the session. Maduagwu, later, resurfaced with her faction members, and tried in vain to order Uzoezie out of the seat.
As both factions could not settle for legislative business, Maduagwu, her faction, and some staff of the parliament vacated their sitting positions in the chamber to return to their various seats.
Some of the lawmakers equally left the chamber to Maduagwu’s office, leaving Uzoezie, rooted on the speaker’s seat with a few of his factional members around.
Meanwhile, a mild drama played out when the member representing Anambra East constituency, Hon. Chris Emenaka engaged Hon. Romanus Ugochukwu of Orumba North Constituency in a fight for allegedly addressing him as a “fool”.
Emenaka, who entered the chambers in clutches during the dramatic session, had told his colleagues that they were too mature for the sort of behavior they were displaying considering they have only six months left for them to serve as lawmakers. This statement irked Ugochukwu, who allegedly hauled insults at him.
Emenaka angrily responded: “You must withdraw that insult. I can’t leave you if you don’t withdraw the insult. You failed a party primary, and couldn’t fight there and you’re here flexing muscle. Why not go to court over the party primary. Leave me let me use these things puncture his stomach,” he yelled at Ugochukwu as he tried hitting him with the clutches.
Hon. Onyebuchi Offor and others, however, held him back, while Ugochukwu kept quiet and withdrew as he was ordered by his colleagues. Shortly after, Umeano Timothy, the sergeant-at-arms drove away journalists from the press gallery.
The factional Speaker of Anambra State House of Assembly, Ikem Uzoezie later disclosed that the legislative chamber failed to sit on Thursday due to a court action he initiated against his predecessor, Rita Maduagwu.
Addressing the media after Maduagwu and her faction had left the Assembly complex, Uzoezie explained that he had obtained court action seeking to stop Maduagwu from parading herself as the Speaker of the 6th assembly following the purported impeachment his group staged against her on 13th November. He said that normal sittings would resume next Tuesday.