Abia speaker, deputy lay claim to positions despite impeachment, removal

Chinedum Orji

The crisis rocking the Abia state House of Assembly, following purported impeachment of the Speaker, Chinedum Orji, by 18 out of 24 members, seems to have deepened by the suspension of the Deputy Speaker, Ifeanyi Uchendu.

Uchendu, who purportedly led the impeachment of Orji, was suspended with eight other members accused to have masterminded the impeachment saga.

Nine members of the House had, on Tuesday, after the reported impeachment of Orji, met in the House and resolved to suspend the nine members for one month.

In the case of Uchendu, he was quickly removed from office as Deputy Speaker and replaced by Mandela Obasi, who was sworn in as the substantive Deputy Speaker with immediate effect.

Beside the suspension, the House, which was being presided over by Orji, further constituted an ad hoc committee, headed by Ginger Onwusibe, to investigate the conduct of the suspended members and report back within one week for onward transmission to the House Committee on Ethics and Disciplinary, headed by the Majority Leader, Solomon Akpulonu.

The suspended nine members are Kennedy Njoku, Chukwudi Apugo, Chikwendu Kalu, Chijioke Chukwu, Okey Igwe, A.C Thomas Nkoro, Aaron Uzodike and Obinna Ichita.

It was gathered that the House met, Wednesday, with Orji presiding. Uchendu, in his reaction to journalists, said that his position “as Deputy Speaker subsists despite his purported suspension by few members, led by the impeached Speaker.

He described his removal as null and void, saying the impeachment of a Deputy Speaker of the House must be carried out in accordance with laid down procedures, as enshrined in Section 92 of the Constitution.

He said: “My purported removal was a mere drama and jamboree. My position as the Deputy Speaker remains indisputable as the process did not follow laid down procedures as enshrined in the law.”


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