Ex-Abia Speaker shuns Sitting after Demotion
After failing to retain his seat in the newly inaugurated House, the former Speaker of the Abia state House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Agwu U. Agwu, who was replaced by his member – colleague, Hon. Ude Oko Chukwu, has resorted to avoiding House sessions.
The state governor had through a letter on June 8 th,2011, read by the Clerk of the House, Mr. Johnpedro Irokansi, inaugurated the state's 5 th Assembly with Oko Chukwu representing Ohafia North state Constituency, emerging unopposed as the Speaker .
Now that he is an ordinary member representing Arochukwu state constituency, Agwu has resorted to shunning sittings and other functions of the House. Sources within the Assembly said the former Speaker is yet to get over the shock and humiliation of not retaining his much coveted office in the new House. Some say he is the architect of his own misfortune.
His victory at the 2011 state Assembly polls might have made him to feel his dream of returning as Speaker for a second term would be an easy one. However, it turned out to be a mere wish for the man who on inauguration on June 11 2007, said he was serving at the pleasure of his colleagues. It was gathered that Agwu made spirited efforts to retain his seat through reaching out to his colleagues, party chieftains and close associates of the governor with little success as feelers from official quarters revealed that he could not be retained.
A lot of allegations were known to have trailed Agwu in his bid to stage a come back. On the judgment day of the gubernatorial battle between Gov. Theodore Orji and Chief Onyema Ugochukwu in 2007, it was alleged that the former speaker was holed up in Umuahia expecting that the election would be nullified which would have made him the Acting governor of the state. Gov. Orji is said not to have forgiven him for this. He is also alleged not to be a team player as he failed to carry along most of his colleagues. Most members who aligned with him when his position was threatened were said not have been rewarded.
Investigations revealed that the House under Agwu's leadership was one where members managed to play along in spite of their grievances. He was also reported not to be in the god books of some influential members of the House who could have ensured his return. A member of the House who declined to have his name on print said “there was no way Agwu could have returned as Speaker. During the last lap of his tenure, he would have suffered impeachment but members were prevailed upon to let peace reign since the end of the tenure was then at hand”
At the House, a staff said a lot of changes has taken place since Oko Chukwu became Speaker. He is reported to be humble and accessible to workers. The staff also hinted that whenever Oko Chukwu comes to work every morning, he visits his colleagues in their various offices from where they will proceed to his office. Through this, he has earned the confidence of workers and members of the Assembly, he remarked. During a visit to the House members to the governor at government House recently, Oko Chukwu is also reported to have on two occasions, been invited to ride in the same vehicle with Gov. Orji to inspect projects, a privilege which his predecessor never enjoyed. Sources attribute the Speaker's elevation to his maturity and level headedness.
Agwu's inability to retain his seat, Nigeria Newspoint gathered, shocked him as political analysts say it was better for him not have returned to the House than to return and be demoted from the Speakership to an ordinary member.He only showed up twice at the chambers before the House embarked on recess.
This might have been his reason for absenting himself from sittings of the House despite emerging the chairman of the House committee on Sports and member of other grade A committees in the House. As the chairman of the committee on Sports, journalists, who has hoped to catch him at the Enyimba stadium, during the club's matches at the on going CAF Champions League had twice went home disappointed as he continues to shun public functions.