The Deputy Speaker of the Abia State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Uchendu, has stated that impeachment and removal of the now former Speaker of the Abia State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Chinedu Orji, was as a result of alleged misconduct and Abuse of power.
The Deputy Speaker, who is also the Chairman, Media and Publicity of the House, made this known while speaking with newsmen in Umuahia. He also said that the newly elected speaker of the House is Hon. Chukwudi Apugo, member representing Umuahia East state constituency.
The details of the interactive section with the press are as follows:
“Good evening ladies and gentlemen of the press. My name is Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Uchendu, Deputy Speaker, Abia State House of Assembly.”
Tell us exactly what happened today. We heard that some member of the house took a decision. What was that decision all about?
“Today, we just did our job. It was as simple as that. The majority of the house decided to remove the Speaker, over misconduct and abuse of power. We were sixteen ok number who signed for his removal. I only stood as a presiding officer. The members of the house that was present during the impeachment are more than twelve in number. We impeached him, therefore he is no longer the speaker of Abia State House of Assembly. That is exactly what transpired today.”
What informed your decision to impeach the Speaker? What did he do?
“Just like I said before, abuse of office. This is an open secret of which all of you already know. We are supposed to sit at least 180 days in a year, but right from the time we started, we haven’t sat half of it in a year. When funds comes to the House, he embezzled it alone. He doesn’t allow members of the House to contribute to matters apart from himself. He takes decision, and conclude on a decision on his own. As a result of all these, the members of the house decided that he is going to be impeached today, and we have sixteen signatories to that. He was removed by 10 AM today.”
Why has it taken the House all these while to impeach him, since he is involved in all these things you mentioned?
“The House will only impeach when they have decided to. All the members of the house are not happy, so when the complete signatures came up, we have to go and do the needful.”
Which venue did the sitting of the impeachment took place? Also, can you tell us if it is constitutional for such to take place outside the House?
“Constitutionally, what we did today is right. The constitution says, any government premises in the state. When we are about going to the chamber to perfect the impeachment, we got the information of how the speaker has surrounded the chamber with bad boys. So, we moved to another government premises in the state and carried out the impeachment. It is constitutional.”
Who is the newly elected speaker of the house?
“The new speaker is Hon. Chukwudi Apugo. We all elected, and inaugurated him as the new Speaker of Abia State House of Assembly.”
You said embezzlement of funds was one of the reasons he was impeached. Do you intend bringing him to face the law?
“Of course, it will not just end like that. Like, since I have worked as a deputy speaker, this man hasn’t been paying me. He doesn’t give me my security votes. When I ask him to pay me, he will say he cannot do it, and it is in his own discretion, so he will give me when he wants to. He acts as if he is the all in all.”
Before taking the step to impeach him, has any of you talked to him as a friend and colleague?
“I have sent several text messages to him, telling him that what he is doing is not good. For the past two weeks I have been telling him that his behaviour is not good. That he is the problem in the Abia State House of Assembly, and equally the problem in the entire state. I told him he should call members to sit in these remaining days as have in the House, and he should give us our due welfare, so that we can end well in this institution, and be bluntly refused.”
Since you members have just few days in this 7th House of Assembly, why didn’t you allow the tenure to exhaust instead of this impeachment?
“We still have up to three weeks to stay in the. House, and like I said earlier, he embezzled most of the funds alone. Changes can be done within this few days with the new Speaker.”
We learnt that there was a time the House was shut for some time, is it true? Who shut it?
“It is true, and it was shut by this same man we are talking about. He keep locking the place as if it is his private house. If you tell him to come and let’s do the job we are voted for, he will refuse. If you can recall, it was when I started sitting that we passed so many bills.”
Are you aware that he sat with some members of the house today?
“That is just a jamboree. I even heard he suspended some members, that is unconstitutional. He is already an impeached speaker, and he is not supposed to preside in that hallowed chamber. They didn’t even form quorum, he was there with just six members. I am still the deputy speaker of Abia State House of Assembly, and the new Speaker is Hon. Apugo.”