Fresh Crisis Rocks Rivers Assembly As Pro-Fubara Lawmakers Elect New Speaker

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The political crisis in Rivers State has taken a whole new twist as some members of the Rivers State House of Assembly loyal to Governor Siminalayi Fubara elected the member representing Bonny constituency, Victor Oko-Jumbo, as their Speaker.

Oko-Jumbo, who is said to be the new speaker for the entire 32-member Assembly, was said to be elected at 10am during plenary on Wednesday, in line with the Standing Order of the House.

Oko-Jumbo was one of the four lawmakers loyal to Fubara in the wake of the political crisis in the state.

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They had at the time of the crisis elected Edison Ehie as the speaker but the latter later resigned from the State Assembly, and was appointed the Chief of Staff to the Governor.

It was not clear how many lawmakers were present during the plenary that produced Oko-Jumbo as speaker.

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Oko-Jumbo was led to the plenary with the original mace of the Rivers State House of Assembly by the Sergeant-at-Arms, David Wariboko, who managed the last sitting of the Martin Amaewhule-led Assembly in the same position.

Oko-Jumbo in his acceptance speech thanked the members for electing him as the new Speaker sequel to the resignation of the former Speaker, Edison Ehie.

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He called on the Executive and the Judiciary, as well as the public to disregard every law purportedly enacted by the Amaewhule-led Assembly, describing it as an exercise in futility.

“You will agree with me that after the House last sat on the 13th of December, 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.

“These former members, being fully aware of the provisions of Section 109(1)(g) of the CFRN 1999, defected from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Party (APC) on the 11th of December, 2023.

“Consequently, the Rt. Hon. Edison Ogerenye Ehie-led Assembly, on the 13th of December, 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 CFRN 1999.

“My distinguished colleagues, there are a plethora of cases pending in our courts further to the defection of the former lawmakers,” he said.

“All laws, plenary sessions and actions taken by the illegal House members 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.” Oko-Jumbo emphasised.

He said, “Furthermore, this House would want to most respectfully urge and call on His Excellency, the Governor of Rivers State, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, DSSRS, to desist forthwith from further dealings 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 Progressives Congress on the 11th of December, 2023.

“This House is the legally and constitutionally recognised House of Assembly by virtue of the defection of the other members, and is ready to receive correspondences from and work with His Excellency, the Governor of Rivers State, Sir Siminalayi Fubara. Distinguished colleagues, let me thank you once again.

“I know I can count on your unalloyed and unwavering support as we work with His Excellency, Sir Siminalayi Fubara in moving our dear Rivers State forward in promoting the progress and welfare of the State.”

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