Ousted Abia Speaker reveals reasons for impeachment
Ousted Speaker of the Abia House of Assembly, Chief Martins Azubuike, said he was impeached because he chose to deploy available funds into projects and not consenting to sharing it among colleagues.
Azubuike spoke on Monday at a civic reception organised in his honour by his people under the auspices of Umunneato-Ngwa, a loose socio-cultural body.
The group is comprised of the three sister-local government areas of Osisioma Ngwa, Isialangwa North and Isialangwa South of the state.
He told the crowd that he committed no impeachable offence but was removed because he did not accede to demands to share allocations to the House among the members.
Azubuike, who was highly revered by assembly workers for bringing his experience to bear on the House as a third-term legislator, listed the projects executed during his more than one-year tenure as Speaker.
According to him, the projects included the completion of an office complex building for the 24 legislators.
He said that the building started in 2007, but could not be completed by his two predecessors.
Azubuike said other projects were the computerisation of the operations of the Assembly and development of a website for the House to enable members track its activities from within and outside the complex.
The ex-Speaker said that he also procured vehicles for the members and two buses for committee assignments.
'These monetary achievements were the challenges I had with the members because I did not agree the money should be put on the table to be shared among the members,' Azubuike said.
He also reeled out a number of constituency projects he executed in his Isialangwa North constituency, to include the grading of roads in the area and bursary award to 100 students.
The former speaker said that he organised free medical services for people of the area as well as schools competitions, during which scholarships were awarded to the best students, among other projects.
Azubuike said that at the inception of the sixth assembly, his leadership articulated a road-map for 2015/2019 on how to drive development in the state.
According to him, whatever the present administration of Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu had achieved from inception to date was as a result of the initiatives by the House under his leadership.
Besides, he said that since his emergence as Speaker, he gave support to the governor, against the background that it was the first time the Ngwa extraction produced a governor since the creation of Abia.
However, Azubuike expressed his readiness to continue to support the governor to ensure his success.
He also assured his people that he would continue to provide effective representation to the area in the House.
He said: 'I am not going to take the back seat but I will take the front seat because I do not see anybody in the House that can do it better than I.'
The ex-Speaker thanked the organisers of the event and elders of the area for the honour done to him.
Azubuike said that he had been consoled by their solidarity and kind words, which he hoped to cherish all his life.
In an interview with newsmen on the sideline of the event, Azubuike said that he was not served a notice of impeachment to enable him defend himself against the charges levelled against him.
Eminent politicians and leaders of the group, in their separate speeches, discredited the action of the legislators, describing their reasons for the impeachment as not only flimsy but untenable.
The Chairman of Isialangwa North Local Government Council, Chief Ginger Onwusibe, said that the reason adduced by the House in impeaching Azubuike was 'to give a dog a bad name in order to hang it'.
'What happened to our brother is what a lot of people did not understand.
'He is not the final destination, we know the final destination and that is why we should stand united to defend our son, the governor, who we all struggled to enthrone.
'Ikpeazu represents the collective destiny of the Ukwa Ngwa people,' Onwusibe said.
He said that many people thought the youths of the area would mobilise to block the Ngwa axis of the Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway to protest Azubuike's removal.
He assured that the youths would not be lawless or take any action that would undermine Ikpeazu's administration.
'This administration is the one we all struggled to install. We cannot destroy the house we jointly built,' Onwusibe said.
The leader of the group, Mr Emmanuel Adaelu, expressed utter disappointment that no legislator, including those from Ngwa ethic nationality, told him the sins Azubuike committed to warrant his removal.
'When I made phone calls, none of the legislators from our area could tell me what Azubuike did yet they all signed his impeachment notice,' Adaelu said.
Other speakers exonerated Azubuike of the allegations levelled against him.
They admonished him not to be demoralised by the action but to aspire to greater height believing that 'when one door closes, God would open another'.
Amuta described the reasons for the impeachment as trumped up charges orchestrated to undermine him, warning that the action will boomerang against the masterminds.
The leader, Nzuko Ohaneze Ukwa Ngwa, Saint-Moses Ogbonna, underscored the need for cohesion among the legislators from the area, saying there is strength in unity.
There was also a consensus among the people on the need for everybody to rally support for Ikpeazu's administration.
The people also resolved to take actions to secure Ikpeazu's second tenure, saying that Abia South Senatorial District must serve two terms like other districts.
NAN recalls that Azubuike was impeached on Dec. 29, 2016, by 20 out of the 24 legislators for alleged financial recklessness and autocratic leadership style, among other allegations. – NAN.