Anambra State House Of Assembly Wars Over Party Interest

By Okechukwu Onuegbu

The sitting of Anambra state House of Assembly last Thursday 5th September narrowly escaped free-for-all fight as witnessed in the hallow chamber of River state House of Assembly some months back.

The divinely averted crash could have ensued between the Lawmakers under the platform of All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) and their opposition counterparts such as All Progressive Congress (APC), Accord Party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Labour Party (LP).

The war of tongue and pointing of accusing fingers began when Hon. TonyOneweek Mounagor, the House Minority leader and Member Representing Idemili North Constituency informed his colleagues in a-matter of urgent importance that all the Chairmen-ship and Councilor-ship Aspirants under his party (APC) petitioned him through Short Media Message (SMS) alleging that Anambra state Independent Electoral Commission (ANSIEC) is compelling all the political parties chairmanship and councilorship candidates to pick its nomination form with the sum of #200,0002,000 respectively.

According to Hon. Mounagor, the APC contestants who alleged that collection of the fees negate the ANSIEC law, further noted that it is soul responsibility of political parties to taxed Aspirants before party primary's election after which the electoral commission is expected to issue nomination form free from any charge to whoever is presented to it as a candidate.

The Minority Leader while emphasizing that he did not pay any dine to INEC before picking similar form to contest the 2011 General Election which he incidentally won, implored the hallow chamber to look into the matter so as to discover if it was inline with Ansiec law even as he disclosed that other parties express disgust as a result of it as well.

However, as Hon. Mounagor was about explaining his earlier encounter with the Ansiec Acting Chairman, Hon. Sylvester Okonkwo, on the matter, the Member representing Aguata 11 Constituency, Hon. Ikemefuna Uzoezie (APGA) countered him pointing the House order 40:14 to support his action saying that "A mere SMS allegation is not relevance to us. It should not be part of our discussion here. The text is from APC secretary and not Ansiec. It is an internal party affairs. If it was from Ansiec, the masses could have been informed through the various medium of communication".

But Hon. Gabriel Onyewife (Ayamelum) supported the minority leader noting that the issue was raised on a-matter of urgent importance in order to find a legal means of preventing the state electoral umpire from unduly distorting money from candidates.

Also speaking, Hon. Romanus Ugochukwu Obi (Orumba North-APGA), Hon. Kingsley Iruba (Nnewi South.1-APGA) and Majority Leader of the House, Hon Harford Ikechukwu Oseke (APGA) insisted that Hon. TonyOneweek has no right to present the matter without consulting the Chairman House Committee on Electoral matters for proper investigation.

Hon. Oseke who is also the Chairman, House Committee on Electoral Matters said "I am the chairman, House Committee on Electoral matters. People should stop doing my job for me. It is my sole responsibility. Any body with an issue connected therein must see me and my members first so that we can investigate and resolve it".

Diaggreeing with his APGA counterparts, Hon. Chugbo Enwezor (Onitsha North.1-APGA) registered his words noting that "i disagree with the house leader entirely. It is never a law that a member must report any matter to any committee before presenting it in a matter of urgent importance. Therefore, it is apt for discussion because i have contested for an election twice in this state without paying one naira to INEC.... The board of contention here is for us to verify if it is stated in Ansiec law or not. So, let's remove party sentiment and do what is required of us by all the constituencies we represent here. It is not party matter please".

Immediately, the House was thrown into pandemonium as laughter, angry voice and noise emanating from both sides became so intense compared to market place and wrestling ground even as Apga and non-Apga lawmakers raises hands to speak as well.

It took prompt reaction of the Deputy Speaker, Hon. Chukwudi Orizu who presided over the sitting in absent of the Speaker, Princess Chinwe Nwaebili to prevent his colleagues from fighting each other.

Hon. Orizu who was laughing at his colleagues as they point accusing fingers on each other over the issue for hours, finally referred the matter to the House Committee on Electoral matters for proper verifications with a view to brief them it findings at his next sitting on 12th September, 2013.

Even as that, Hon. Tonyoneweek raised another war when he stood to congratulate Sen. Ngige over his victory at APC recent guber. Primary as Majority Leader, Hon. Oseke ordered him to sit down if he has nothing important to say pointing that APC is now troublesome.