More Troubles, Confusion at Delta Assembly over Phillips' Swearing In
ASABA, June 09, (THEWILL) - As more delay tactics and controversies continue to trail the swearing in of the Delta State House of Assembly member elect representing Ika South constituency, Mr. Kingsley Nonye Phillips, the sacked speaker of the House, Mr. Martins Okonta is said to have been employing other tactics to frustrate the swearing in of Mr. Phillips.It was alleged that the clerk of the House, Mr. Raymond Yavbieri had told the member elect that he could not do anything about his swearing in because he (Clerk) has not received any directives from the state governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan to that effect.Addressing Journalists yesterday at the state House of Assembly complex, Counsel to the sacked Speaker, Mr. Efe Akpofure, SAN; Clerk of the House, Mr. Yavbieri and the Acting Speaker, Mr. Basil Ganagana insisted that Mr. Okonta remains the speaker of the House adding that the Clerk has no Constitutional right to swear in the member-elect, Mr. Philips into the House and have to stay action, till the suit filed by the embattled sacked Speaker is disposed of. According to Mr. Akpofure, his client had filed a motion at the Appellant Court to allow the status quo in the House to remain. "Until the motion is disposed of Hon. Okonta remains the Speaker of the Assembly and it is only the Speaker and not the Clerk of the House that can swear in a member of the House in accordance with constitutional provision."In a swift reaction, Mr. Philips vehemently countered Akpofure's statement as according to him, Mr. Akpofure is only a lawyer but not a Court of Law and is merely "working for the N4 million legal fees he collected from Okonta." The member elect however stated that nothing will stop his swearing-in as a member of the House next week Tuesday. "By the grace of God I will be sworn in next week Tuesday. Hon Martin Okonta is no longer a member of the House and that is the situation," the member-elect boasted Mr. Philips was recently declared winner of the 2007 House of Assembly election for Ika South Constituency by the Federal Court of Appeal in Abuja. Meanwhile the sacked speaker Mr. Okonta has resumed moves to take over as speaker. It was reliably gathered that the embattled sacked speaker has been battling the Acting Speaker, Mr. Basil Ganagana to relinquish the seat he (Okonta) left, threatening that as soon the House which is on three weeks recess reconvenes, he is taking over his seat as the speaker of the house.Assembly sources who confided in our reporter said that on Saturday shortly after the democracy day celebrations, Mr. Okonta met the acting Speaker at the state legislative quarters, warning Mr. Ganagana to vacate the seat as he was no longer comfortable with the games the house was playing since he resigned from the position.It would be recalled that last week, official and economic activities at the Delta State House of Assembly were crippled as protesters stormed the Assembly premises calling for the immediate swearing of Mr. Kingsley Phillips representing Ika South constituency.