Sacked Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly member, Nse Ntuen, one of the five members of the House whose seats were declared vacant earlier yesterday, last night announced himself the new Speaker of the House.
The Assembly, had in compliance with the Federal High Court judgement last Wednesday, declared their seats vacant but Ntuen told news men last night that he was elected the new Speaker but was silent on the number of members that elected him and what becomes of Onofiok Luke, the subsisting Speaker.
However, a video clip showed that he had gained access into the chamber, and singularly carried out the processes of nominating and voting for himself as the new Speaker without any other member involved in the exercise.
But in a swift response, the Majority Leader, Honourable Udo Kierian dismissed the claim describing it ‘as an act of desperation by someone hell bent on destroying democracy”.
Recall that Ntuen and four had their seats declared vacant for defecting from the Peoples Democratic Party to the All Progressives Congress based on Wednesday’s judgement by the Federal High Court, Uyo which acted on the strength of the law.
Last Wednesday, a Federal High Court sitting in Uyo and presided over by Justice F.O. Riman had dismissed the suit filed by Idongesit Ituen, representing Itu State Constituency, who sought protection against execution of the provision of law on defection on the grounds the PDP coalition with the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) represented crisesin the party.
Idongesit Ituen, who represents Itu State Constituency, had last September challenged the provision of the law that defecting member’s seat be declared vacant, but lost in the ruling given Justiceby F. O. Riman, which dismissed the main suit filed by Ituen and granted all the reliefs in the counterclaim.
Dismissing the alleged election of a new Speaker, Honourable Kierian said his declaration was a huge joker as the 21 out of the 26 members remained intact and had not reconvened after they unanimously effected the court judgement by declaring their seats vacant.
“Who was with him, who is his new Deputy Speaker, how many members participated in his alleged election of new leaders, in fact who are they other newly elected officers?”, he queried stating what Ntuen did clearly demonstrated desperation.
He equally described attempts by hoodlums to break into the chamber yesterday as crass efforts to desecrate democracy, adding that the chants of APC slogan and verbal abuse of Governor Udom Emmanuel showed where they came from.
Nonetheless, speaking with journalists in Uyo Monday night, Ntuen said that, their decision to change the Speaker followed members’ lack of confidence on the ability of Mr. Luke to lead the Assembly.
He described the process that led to their purported sack as illegal, null and void as there were subsisting court orders even as the House rules and procedures were not duly and legally followed.
“In the first place no such action as declaring our seat vacant took place because there was no mace, the former Speaker did not follow due legislative procedure of being announced into the chamber by the Sergeant at Arms rather he came in through the back door.
“What happened in the House today was a normal legislative thing. We were supposed to sit on Tuesday, but on Sunday we got notices that the sitting had been rescheduled for today because of the public holiday on Tuesday and nobody objected to that. Unfortunately this
morning when I came to the house, the gate was barricaded and we were not allowed to go into the premises.
Ntuen wondered why Mr. Luke would unilaterally declare their seat vacant when that of a member who defected to the PDP from APC last year was not given the same treatment.
“So we elected a new Speaker because Luke is not good enough to be Speaker. He is incompetent and is been teleguided by the Executive against our quest to be independent and not to be labelled a rubber stamp Assembly.”
He called on the people of the state not to see their action as confrontational but that which would make the legislature stronger in the discharged of its responsibility to the people of Akwa Ibom state.