Members of the Delta State House of Assembly have insisted that the former speaker of the House, Monday Igbuya, representing Sapele constituency, stands impeached and suspended for three months.
On Thursday morning during plenary, 22 out of the 29 members of the House voted to impeach the speaker and immediately replaced him with the member representing Okpe constituency, Sheriff Oboriowori.
The House also elected the member representing Isoko South constituency 2, Johnson Erijo, as the new majority leader of the House.
Moving the motion for the impeachment of Mr. Igbuya, Mr. Erijo, who was armed with a list of the 22 members who signed for the impeachment, said the impeachment became necessary following what he called the former speaker’s deception, highhandedness, and incompetence, adding that Mr. Igbuya’s leadership style was unacceptable to the House. Mr. Erijo stated that for the House to move forward, a new speaker was needed, as the state legislature was key to the growth of democracy and development of the state.
The motion, which was seconded by the member representing Oshimili South constituency and former speaker of the House, Peter Onwusanya, was unanimously adopted, following which the deputy speaker who presided called for the nomination of the new speaker.
In his acceptance speech, Sheriff Oboriowori, who was immediately sworn-in to relevant oaths of office and allegiance as speaker by the clerk of the House, Lyna Ocholor, promised to adhere strictly to the rules of the House.
Mr. Oboriowori immediately announced the dissolution of all standing committees of the House and adjourned to Tuesday, May 23.
Meanwhile, SaharaReporters reliably learned that the ex-convicted former governor of the state, James Ibori, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa and other Urhobo leaders mobilized by the sacked speaker have continued to mount pressure on the lawmakers to reverse their decision and reinstate Mr. Igbuya.
They held a meeting on Thursday morning discussing the matter, which ended in a deadlock and was therefore rescheduled for 3:00 p.m.
A meeting with the lawmakers and the state governor at government house in Asaba this morning to reinstate Mr. Igbuya as the speaker which lasted several hours deadlocked and was rescheduled for 3:00pm.
Rising from the deadlocked meeting with the governor, one of the principal officers of the house confided in SaharaReporters that they would never reinstate Mr. Igbuya.
“Ibori and Okowa are only wasting their time because the House will never bring a curse upon itself. The impeachment of Igbuya stands and there is nothing Okowa or Ibori can do about it. Okowa was in full support of the impeachment and all of a sudden he is turning around to ask us to reverse what we have done constitutionally. Deltans are with us on this. Even as we talk, Sapele, his constituency, is agog following his impeachment. We are advising Okowa and Ibori to stay clear of this issue or have their fingers burnt,” the source told SaharaReporters.
Our correspondent met the embattled sacked speaker, along with Orezi Esievo, who represents Isoko South constituency 1, and James Ibori’s daughter, Erhiatake Ibori, who represents Ethiope West constituency, after his impeachment at the official residence of Evans Ochuko Iwurie, a member representing Ethiope East constituency.
Mr. Igbuya and his supporters insisted that he remains the speaker.
"Nothing dey happen. The impeachment can not stand. My father has said it already so no cause for alarm. Igbuya remains the speaker whether they like it or not,” Ms. Ibori said.
Reacting to the impeachment, the deputy national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Cairo Ojougboh, described as criminal the removal of Mr. Igbuya as speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly.
While advising Mr. Igbuya not to be despaired, Mr. Ojougboh said the removal of the speaker is a victory for his person and the genuine democratic forces in Delta State.
"Igbuya was removed from office because he accompanied Chief James Ibori to visit the governor and good people of Bayelsa State.
“His problem with Governor Okowa started immediately after that visit but we must state that Monday Igbuya has served well and we are proud of his services to the people of Delta State. Governor Okowa should be reminded that power belongs to God and that it is transient."
As at the time of filing this report, Mr. Okowa and the lawmakers were preparing to commence the rescheduled meeting in the government house.