Cross River Speaker’s Impeachment: A Failed Coup D’etat

As a three-tier government that Nigeria is, three legislatures exist and all of them have impeachment powers that have often been grossly abused: The National Assembly, the States Assemblies and the Local Government Legislative Councils. A close example of their activities, regarding frivolous impeachment has showed a consistent brute power struggle for pecuniary gains and not for the interest of the citizens.

This was the case that just transpired in the Cross River State House of Assembly where the Honorable Speaker, @Rt Hon Elverts Ayamben was purportedly removed in a gestapo manner. It is interesting to note that the power struggle in the assembly deployed with all external powers and influences within and without their respective corridors of powers to achieve their inordinate ambitions is the result of the drama that ensued on the 22nd of May, 2024, desecrating the hallowed chambers.

Like in the case of Rt Hon Elverts, in the titanic sweepstake, extraneous actors were behind the scenes masterminding the crisis that led to the so called removal which hitherto has become a failed coup de’tat. Majority of Cross Riverians are saying with clarifications that the procedure for removing the speaker, was wrong and not in conformity with laid down rules as envisaged in the regulations guiding the House. Even when the said motion was seconded, there was no consensus on the motion by honourable members during proceedings. No question was put and agreed to as required by the rules for any motion to be considered or adopted as resolutions.

The actions of the lawmakers have further questioned their credibility and the way and manner they emerged as representatives of their state Constituencies in the assembly. To say the least many are disappointed. How could you claim to have removed a speaker and can’t elect another immediately, even when you have the mace? This is absolutely unwarranted, unjustifiable and condemnable.

By way of argument, the sponsors of the charade and their cohorts in the House have foisted on the entire state a coup d’etat, in the sense that the botched impeachment translates to a nullity. What transpired wasn’t just an unfortunate event but reflected the worst one could experience in the temple of democracy. It is highly unbecoming for peoples representatives to stoop to such level. If care is not taken, and if all of us seal our lips, fold our arms and get relaxed on our seats and allow this impunity to go unchecked, in no distant future, the governor of the state would be impeached and forced out of office in like manner.

Another school of thought have it on good authority that the Speaker is being hunted due to his action and insistence to probe the Ayade-led administration, which Ayambem said the State Assembly is poised and dogged in ensuring every wrong and illegal approach to executing contracts, concessions and spending of public funds.

Based on investigations into deals and agreements under the immediate past Governor, Rt Hon Elvert Ayambem, had disclosed that the State Assembly has vowed to stop and revoke deals on concessioned industries and assets by the previous administration.This is one of the reasons for the onslaught by way of coup de’tat and exchange of blows during plenary.

Yes, there are people who are not happy in the House, there are a lot of intrigues but it is not something that should translate to a failed coup. The kind of House Cross Riverians want to be associated with is an Assembly devoid of violence like Israel and Hamas. If you feel the leadership of this man is not favourable, you don’t need to plot a failed coup. Yes, there is no House of Assembly in the world where you cannot find division. In a gathering of a 25 member House, members cannot think or reason the same way. But what they should do is to struggle to present a common front before the people of Cross River state, not a coup.

The members of the House of Assembly should allow the Speaker to continue in office, without making any attempt to remove him as the legislative coup has failed ab initio. It is too early to start bickering as State Assembly. Any attempt to press further is a desecration of legislative sanctity and an affront against Cross Riverians.

Ogar Solomon Ogar , writing from Solomon Islands.

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