As a fallout of the sacking of five members in the state assembly Monday, some members of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly have elected the member representing Essien Udim State Constituency, Mr. Nse Ntuen, as their new Speaker.
They include the five members whose seats were declared vacant by House Speaker, Onofiok Luke earlier in the day.
Speaking with journalists in Uyo Monday evening, he said that, their decision to change the Speaker followed members’ lack of confidence on the ability of Mr. Luke to lead the Assembly.
He described the process that led to their purported sack as illegal, null and void as there were subsisting court orders even as the House rules and procedures were not duly and legally followed.
“In the first place no such action as declaring our seat vacant took place because there was no mace, the former Speaker did not follow due legislative procedure of being announced into the chamber by the Sergeant at Arms rather he came in through the back door.
“What happened in the House today was a normal legislative thing. We were supposed to sit on Tuesday, but yesterday (Sunday) we got notices that the sitting had been rescheduled for today because of the public holiday on Tuesday and nobody objected to that.
“Unfortunately, this morning when I came to the house, the gate was barricaded and we were not allowed to go into the premises.
“Moreover, the purported action was not in the order paper for today’s plenary. The two items in the order paper were the consideration of the appropriation bill sent to the House by Governor Udom Emmanuel and a commemorative sitting for former Governor Victor Attah.
“So in the light of these anomalies, members sat and elected me as the new Speaker. We will reconvene on Wednesday when other positions will be filled.
“This will not be the first time a minority member will be elected a head of a legislature. The Senate President of the Nigerian Senate is a minority member,” he explained.
Ntuen wondered why Mr. Luke would unilaterally declare their seat vacant when that of a member who defected to the PDP from APC last year was not given the same treatment.
“So we elected a new Speaker because Luke is not good enough to be Speaker. He is incompetent and is been tele-guided by the Executive against our quest to be independent and not to be labelled a rubber stamp Assembly.”
He called on the people of the state not to see their action as confrontational but that which would make the legislature stronger in the discharged of its responsibility to the people of Akwa Ibom state.