IMPEACHMENT FEVER GRIPS ANAMBRA AGAIN
Impeachment fever has once again gripped Anambra State following allegations that members of the State House of Assembly have concluded arrangements to impeach the Speaker, Hon. Anayo Nebe, as a prelude to impeaching Governor Peter Obi.
Though the plot to impeach the Speaker yesterday was aborted, following alleged plea by the executive for dialogue, a cross-section of the people of Ayamelum Local Government, stormed the Assembly to protest the move.
The people who were alleged sponsored by a senior government official also expressed displeasure that their son and representative in the House, Hon. Gabriel Onyenwife, was 'part of the plot.' Onyenwife is believed to have been pencilled down to become the new Speaker.
Leader of the placard-carrying protesters, Barrister Tony Ifeanya, said: 'We're here because we heard that some people want to disrupt the good government of Governor Peter Obi. We heard that some disgruntled elements who call themselves Honourable members are trying to impeach the Speaker and his deputy as a prelude to the impeachment of the Governor himself and we don't want it.
'And we feel saddened that our own son, the Chief Whip, Hon. Gabriel Onyenwife is part of that plot not minding the disgrace of what they did to Ayamelum in February 6, election. In spite all that Governor Peter Obi did for us, he lost in our local government, Ayamelum, and they are not ashamed and we have vowed that it will not happen again.
'They cannot use Ayamelum for their own selfish interests. We are feeling bad already that they disgraced us on February 6 after all that Governor Peter Obi did for Ayamelum. The Chief Judge is from Ayamelum, The Registrar is from Ayamelum, The SSG is from Ayamelum. He built our roads and still they disappointed him and disgraced him on February 6 and again now they are plotting an impeachment.
'Once they remove the Speaker who, according to the clique, is supporting the governor, if they remove him, they then remove the governor and that's why we came, to tell the Speaker that we are with him and if it is possible, we want Gabriel to come back. He should come back to Ayamelum because what he is doing is no longer in our interest. We are here to tell you people that one. We support the Speaker, that he is doing well. We support His Excellency, Mr. Peter Obi; he is doing well and that you should disregard whatever Gabriel is doing. In fact when we get back now, we start the process of his recall because he has already taken too much'.
Responding, Speaker Nebe dismissed the allegation of impeachment, stating that the Assembly has no problem.
'Let me state clearly that we don't have any problem in the House. I have just presided over plenary and as far as I'm concerned, the House has implicit confidence in my leadership. There is no problem, nobody is attacking me. The removal of the Speaker is purely constitutional. When two/third majority of the members decides that they no longer have confidence in their Speaker, they can remove the Speaker and I have not had any cause to suspect such move now.
'There is no move to remove me. Nobody has ever told me. I presided over executive and plenary sessions yesterday, both of them were peaceful. And today I did the same. On Tuesday, I will, by the grace of God, I will again preside. I said, 'by the grace of God' because if I drop dead before Tuesday, I will not preside over the house.
'But God's willing, by Tuesday, I will preside over executive session and plenary. There is no problem in the House. I've not heard of any rumour about removal of Speaker. I am saying that as at today, I am still the Speaker and I have not had any cause to suspect any move to remove me.'
Reacting to the protest in the presence of the protesters, Hon. Onyenwife said, 'They are being sponsored by people who do not know the implication or the application of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which empowers the House of Assembly to take any action within the purview of the constitution'.
Also reacting to the protest, member representing Nnewi South II Constituency, Hon. Barr Ikenna Amechi, said: 'This is a sponsored demonstration being made by some hapless villagers. They just went and brought some hapless villagers to protest against who for what? The House of Assembly has not dissolved his principal office; there is no position that is vacant in the House.
'But some people who are permanently afraid of their shadows, they sponsor things like this … Gabriel Onyenwife is one of the best legislators in this state and you can quote me. Today, he is the Chief Whip and he remains the Chief Whip of the Anambra State House of Assembly and no amount of intimidation can stop that. He remains a good legislator.
'If you look at the last election, you will know whether Gabriel Onyenwife is a popular candidate in the state. Gabriel Onyenwife delivered his local government in the last election. Every other top government official did not.' However, Daily Sun gathered that members of the Assembly who are all members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) were unhappy with the Speaker and were plotting to remove him from office.
The Speaker was being allegedly accused of being selfish and not taking the interest of the members at heart. It was alleged that he had collected contracts worth billions of naira from the Governor and, with that, enriched himself heavily with investments in landed properties across the state.
The last straw that broke the camel's back, according to sources was his alleged alliance with the governor to ensure that All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) swept the local government election expected to hold soon in the state, having been promised House of Representatives seat by the Governor. Meanwhile, some of the members of the House were unhappy with the protest, which according to them was sponsored.
The Chairman, House Committee on Information, Hon. Ejiofor Egwuatu, corroborating the Speaker, restated that the House has no problem and there was no plot of impeachment of anybody. He wondered why some people would bring people to disturb the peace of the House and of the state.
Meanwhile, the Deputy Governor, Engr. Emeka Sibeudu has urged the people of the state not to allow people to use them to destabilize the State on account of vaulting ambitions.
Sibeudu who addressed the protesters who also visited the Government House commended them for their peaceful nature and assured them of government's commitment to sustenance of peace and progress in the state.
He called on those bent on causing problems in the State to realize that Anambra State under Governor Peter Obi has passed that level and urged them to coexist peacefully.