Intrigues behind emergence of Ebonyi Assembly Speaker

EGBO GRACE writes on the intense hide and seek that characterised the election of the principal officers of the Ebonyi State House of Assembly, despite being dominated by a single political party.


THE journey to the inauguration of the EbonyiState 6th House of Assembly was preceded by intense political gerrymandering. This was in spite of the fact that the peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has continued to dominate the political space of the state since 1999.  The suspense and uncertainty was predicated on initial speculation that there could be a paradigm shift in the power sharing formula. The various interests stepped their campaigns, apparently lending weight to the possibility of a looming upset and re-figuration of the hitherto existing political structure.

While the issue dominated public discourse in the political circle within and outside the state, especially Abuja, the main power centres had to go  an extra mile towards consolidating their control of the political lever of Ebonyi. Their major concern was that nothing happened to what has become a tradition. They eventually triumphed in their agenda, as the 24 members of the Assembly elected on the platform of PDP resisted all odds to the arrangement on ground.  Investigations showed that the composition of the Assembly followed party line, as the members retained the zoning principle in the allocation of offices. However, the development was most remarkable because it was unlike the 5th Assembly, where there were pockets of opposition members.It was characterised by intense lobbying and horse-trading among members who were opposed to the re-emergence the Speaker, Honourable Francis Nwifuru.

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The members, who championed the crusade against Nwifuru, a source claimed, were not inaugurated along their colleagues. Both Honourable Awo Chinedu and Victor Aleke of Ohaukwu North and Ebonyi North East constituencies were not inaugurated following the intense power play in the process that culminated in the emergence of the principal leaders of the Assembly.According to a third-term member of the Assembly representing Ezza south constituency, Honourable Chris Usulor, the party zoned the position of Speaker to Ebonyi North and deputy to Ebonyi South. Thus, the arrangement led to emergence of Honourable Nwifuru Ogbonnaya Francis as speaker and Odefa Obasi Odefa as deputy.

“Every member of the state House of Assembly belongs to the PDP family and the  party zoned the position of Speaker to Ebonyi North and everybody agreed with the resolution of the party and people contested. Along the line, a candidate emerged as speaker and the other as deputy speaker unanimously.There was no voting but there were calls for nomination and they nominated only one person after several meetings. So, there was no need of an election when it was only one candidate,” Usulor said

On the suspension of the inauguration of two legislators,Usulor said there were no issues over the action.

“I don’t think there were any issues because the principal officers were retain in the local government area there were before.I am not the party but abide by the decision of the party that has a law that allows them to give position to whosoever they want to give it to. Two people were not inaugurated Chinedu Awo and Victor Aleke, reason were according to the Clerk that they did not summit their code of conduct forms, they did not summit their INEC certificate, nothing more and  nothing less, “ he stated.

Speaking on why no member raised objections to incumbent principals Usulor, maintained that the chosen principal lawmakers are qualified and competent. It was learnt that some lawmakers, who are in their third tenure were denied being  part of the principal key stakeholders because they occasionally disagree always with the ideas of the executive and party on some issues.

It was also gathered  that out of 24 members of the state House of assembly, only three women made it but with none of them becoming principal officers.