Abia govt., APGA bicker over indefinite postponement of Abia House inauguration

Posted by Agwu Okojogho, Umuahia | 6 June 2015 | 2,685 times

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Abia State Government has cautioned the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in the state against dragging Governor Okezie Ikpeazu into the impasse that led to the indefinite postponement of the inauguration of the sixth Abia State House of Assembly.

The House was slated for Proclamation next Monday being June 8, 2015. But the exercise was put off indefinitely and Special Adviser to the governor on Media, Mr Ugochukwu Emezue, is insisting that Governor Ikpeazu has no hand in the postponement.

But APGA says the state government would not be operating at full stream if the legislature is not in place.

The state chapter of APGA, last Wednesday reacted angrily to the indefinite postponement of the inauguration of the 6th session of the State house of Assembly, describing it as “an aberration.”

The controversy over the inauguration of the House erupted after the Clerk/Permanent Secretary of the House, Mr. Johnpedro Irokansi, issued a statement, saying that “the planned inauguration of the House has been suspended indefinitely.”

His reason was that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) “has not issued certificates of return to all the elected members of the House,” hence the postponement of the inauguration.

However, in a swift reaction, the state chairman of APGA, Rev Augustine Ehiemere, told newsmen at the party office in Umuahia during a news briefing that putting the House inauguration on hold was a mark of impunity, which should not be allowed to continue in the state.

“The suspension is not acceptable to APGA. Let the right thing be done,“ he said, adding that the interest of the state should come first above personal interest.

“If by Monday (May 8) Abia State House of Assembly is not inaugurated it means there is no government in Abia state and anybody or body of persons that operates the instruments of government without the legislature is illegal,” he further stated.

Ehiemere argued that since Sections 6, 7 and 8 of the 1999 Constitution clearly specify the functions of the three arms government and without the legislature in place, neither the executive nor the judicial arm was expected to play the role of the legislature.

INEC had already issued certificates of return to 23 members- elect out of which the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has 12  while APGA has 11 with only one state constituency, Isiala Ngwa South, still outstanding.

The INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Professor Selina Oko, had explained that the electoral body could not issue certificate of return for Isiala Ngwa South state constituency due to the burning of INEC office in the area. It is not yet clear which of the parties won that particular seat.

Also, Secretary of APGA in Abia, Sunday Onukwubiri, while contributing, pointed out that there was no justifiable reason why the inauguration of the House should not hold as scheduled.

“I don’t think that in a House of 24 members, an inconclusive election in one state constituency should prevent the inauguration,” he said, adding that if INEC felt that the remaining constituency was inconclusive it should organise a bye election.

Emezue, in a statement in Umuahia yesterday, said media reports credited to APGA was blaming the governor for orchestrating the inauguration of the House.

He described Ikpeazu as a true democrat and gentleman who would not scuttle the inauguration of the third arm of his administration.

The governor's media aide further advised APGA to desist from referring to Ikpeazu’s administration as illegal since the governor was duly elected by the Abia electorate and was legitimately sworn into office, urging the party to patiently await the outcome of their petition at the Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal and refrain from making inflammatory statements capable of heating up the polity.

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Source: News Express

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