Rivers Assembly Crisis Worsens As Factional Speaker Emerges

The political crisis rocking Rivers State appears to be growing worse with the emergence of Victor Oko-Jumbo representing Bonny State Constituency as a factional Speaker of the State Assembly.

Africa Today News, New York reports that Oko-Jumbo was one of the four lawmakers of Rivers Assembly who remained loyal to Governor Siminalayi Fubara after the House was factionalized following a move to impeach the governor late last year.

The other faction led by Martin Amaewhule with 27 lawmakers in its camp was loyal to Fubara’s successor, Nyesom Wike.

However, Ehie later resigned and was appointed the Chief of Staff to the Governor while the faction cease to exist as a result of the peace deal brokered between Fubara and his predecessor, Nyesom Wike. However,

But Oko-Jumbo was said to have been elected as Speaker of the House at 10am during plenary on Wednesday, in line with the Standing Order of the Assembly.

His first action in office was to declare all actions taken by the members of the factional Assembly led by Hon. Martin Amaewhule as void in the eyes of the law.

The factional Speaker further called on Gov. Fubara to stop dealing with the Amaewhule led faction as he claimed that the lawmakers in the camp had lost their seats following their defection from the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, the platform on which they were elected to the All Progressives Congress (APC).

While addressing the house, Oko-Jumbo said his emergence was in pursuant to the resignation of Rt. Hon. Edison Ogerenya Ehie and in line with section 92(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended.

He thanked his colleagues for the confidence reposed in him assuring that he will continue to work with them to move the state forward.

The Speaker noted that after the House last sat on December 13, 2023 and adjourned sine dine, there has been an avalanche of legislative rascality perpetrated by the 25 former members of the 10th Rivers State House of Assembly, led by the former Speaker, Rt. Hon. Martin Chike Amaewhule.

Rt. Hon. Oko-Jumbo emphasised that the former members were aware of the provisions of section 109(1)(g) of the CFRN 1999, and following their defection from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC) on December 11, 2023, Rt. Hon. Edison Ogerenye Ehie who then became the Speaker on December 13, 2023 wrote to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), declaring the seats of the 25 lawmakers vacant in line with section 109(1)(g) and (2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, stressing that there are numerous pending cases in the courts over the defection of the former lawmakers.

Read Also: You Don’t Exist, Fubara Hits Amaewhule-Led Rivers Assembly

He therefore stated that, “All laws, plenary sessions and actions taken by the illegal House are hereby declared void and a nullity in the eyes of the law by virtue of the judgment of Lord Denning in the celebrated case of MacFoy v UAC (1961) 3 All ER 1169, which held that “you cannot put something on nothing and expect it to stand.”

Oko-Jumbo quoted further, “If an act is void, then it is in law a nullity. It is not only bad, but incurably bad. There is no need for an order of court to set it aside. It is automatically null and void without more ado, though it is sometimes more convenient to have the court declare it to be so. And every proceeding which is founded on it is also bad and incurably bad. You cannot put something on nothing and expect it to stay there. It will collapse.”

The Speaker directed the Executive arm, the Judiciary and general public to disregard every law purportedly enacted by the illegal Assembly as they all amount to nothing but an exercise in futility.

“Furthermore, this House would want to most respectfully urge and call on His Excellency, the Governor of Rivers State, Sir Siminilayi Fubara, to stop dealing with the 25 former lawmakers, in whatever guise.”

“Those members are merely floating and do not have any landing ground or anywhere to berth their ship since their defection to the All Progressive Congress on the 11th of December, 2023. This House is the legally and Constitutionally recognised House by virtue of the defection, and is ready to receive correspondences from and work with His Excellency.”

He assured of the house unalloyed and unwavering support to work with Governor Siminalayi Fubara in moving Rivers State forward and in promoting the progress and welfare of the State.

Addressing newsmen after the sitting which held at 10:00am, the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Victor Oko-Jumbo called on all Rivers people to join and support the government of Sir Siminalayi Fubara as the house is ready to give its best for the service of the state

On his part the Chairman of the Business Committee of the House, Hon. Sokari Goodboy, assured of the house commitment to the advancement of the state and are ready to support the speaker. He urged Governor Siminalayi Fubara not to have anything to do with the former members of the house in order not to attract the wrath of the house.

Also in a twist, the Assembly Sergeant-at-arms, Mr. David Wariboko whom Martin Amaewhule-led factional Assembly allegedly suspended was seen performing his duties with the Assembly under Rt. Hon. Victor Oko-Jumbo.

Africa Today News, New York

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