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Abia House rejects deputy governor’s ‘resignation,’ says no going back on impeachment


T A Orji
The Abia State House of Assembly yesterday said it was not aware the embattled deputy governor, Mr. Chris Akomas has resigned his appointment, and was eagerly expecting the report of the seven-man committee investigating allegations of misconduct against Akomas on Monday.

Apparently responding to Saturday's announcement by Akomas that he resigned as deputy governor, a principal officer of the House told that the Assembly was yet to receive any official communication in that wise from the deputy governor and therefore considers the reports as “mere rumour.”

He said: “Yes, some journalists called that deputy Governor Akomas has resigned; that he addressed a press conference in that regard and brandished a letter purportedly dated the 27 th of July or so. As a principal officer of the House, I can tell you without any fear of contradiction that no such letter was received by the Honourable Speaker, his deputy or any of us, principal officers.

“ His Excellency, the deputy governor, should know too well how government operates having been a deputy governor for over three years. He knows too well the appropriate means of communicating the House of Assembly. I can tell you that if he writes us, we shall consider the resignation. But as we speak, at least to the close of office yesterday, because today is a weekend, there was no such letter to any of the principal officers of the Abia State House of Assembly,” he offered.

Pressed on what the House might do if it accepts the report of the investigation panel, the lawmaker said: “In this dispensation, this will not be the first deputy governor or governor to face impeachment. We have had a similar case in the past, and even a few months ago, Bayelsa suffered the same fate. Heavens will not fall because we as lawmakers are carrying out our constitutional duties. The constitution prescribes the method for the removal of a president, his vice, a governor or his deputy, so we don't see ourselves doing anything out of the ordinary.”

On insinuations that the Assembly may have been tele-guided by Governor Theodore Orji to move impeach his deputy for openly associating with former Governor Orji Uzor Kalu, the legislator said the Assembly was not unaware of such sentiments, however adding that such arguments was not sufficient to dissuade them from carrying out their constitutional functions.

“There is a reason for everything that happens in life, only that the reasons can differ depending on the perspective of the persons involved. If we were all to act based on speculations on motives, nothing would ever be done. All the people raising that spurious allegation should also tell us why he was chosen as deputy governor in the first place.

“We were elected by the people to ensure good governance. Whatever, therefore, that would stand in the way of good governance is anti-people and posterity would judge us harshly if we failed to act. The drafters of the constitution foresaw the possibility of a governor instigating the Assembly against his deputy and vice-versa, the reason they also gave the courts powers to adjudicate. If the deputy governor feels that the process leading to his impeachment did not follow the constitutional process, he is free to go to court to challenge that, that is why the courts are there,” the lawmaker explained.

Family sources have however scoffed at Akomas' resignation, describing the move as akin to putting the cart before the horse.

“We had advised him to borrow a leaf from all the deputy governors that were impeached,” offered a family member, adding “but he kept boasting that he would challenge the process in court.

“We even made moves to reach Governor T A Orji to appeal to the lawmakers, if that was going to save our son. Alas! He kept listening to Orji Kalu, who kept buoying his hope. Unknown to Akomas, Kalu whom he was relying on was moving to sacrifice him, if that would appease TA Orji and restore their strained relationship.

“He wouldn't listen to us that Orji Kalu was making nocturnal phones to TA Orji, even though the later ignored all the calls. We warned him that Kalu and his mother were going to dump him and now that it has become obvious to him too late in the day, he is brandishing a letter of resignation. If he submitted the letter to the Assembly or the governor, then what is the need for the press conference? He would have merely leaked a stamped copy of the letter, if such ever existed,” the family member submitted.