There was confusion at the Anambra State House of Assembly yesterday when 18 members, led by the Deputy Speaker, Harford Oseke, impeached Speaker Rita Maduagwu.
The Sun reports that the members said Mrs. Maduagwu was impeached on grounds of incompetence, misappropriation of fund, inefficiency, financial complicity and gross abuse of office, and swiftly, elected the member representing Aguata II Constituency, Ikem Uzoezie as the new speaker.
But, after about two hours, Mrs. Maduagwu rallied round some government officials, including the Secretary to the State Government, Prof. Solo Chukwudebele, regained access to the chamber and held a session with only 10 members.
Mrs. Maduagwu had, shortly before the sitting, told newsmen that her purported impeachment was illegal and described those who carried out the impeachment as rascals.
“Nobody can impeach me because I have not committed any offence. They don’t have any power known to any law to impeach me. They need two-thirds of our members to impeach me or the governor. So, I’m still the speaker,” she reiterated.
Earlier, in the first sitting by the 18 members, Uzoezie had moved a motion for her impeachment. It was seconded by Onyebuchi Offor.
The members, before the impeachment, allegedly suspended three members on allegation of insubordination and ploy to thwart the wheel of progress in the Assembly. They adjourned plenary to tomorrow.
During the second sitting presided over by Mrs. Maduagwu, members, including the Deputy Majority Leader, Pascal Agbodike and Chuka Ezenwune of Idemili South constituency, thanked God for bringing them back to the chamber, after a break and called on Governor Willie Obiano to look into the deplorable condition of some roads in the state.
Speaking to newsmen after the impeachment, which was done via voice vote, the newly-elected speaker, Uzoezie berated Mrs. Maduagwu and alleged she led the House in parallel mode.
He promised to make necessary amendment in the bid to have a virile legislative house in Anambra State.
Other members declined comments, but said legislative duties would resume tomorrow and that, by then, they would be disposed to speaking.
Also addressing newsmen, the Clerk, Pius Udoh said the members who sat and impeached the speaker did not have proper sitting, and insisted no new speaker was sworn in.
He further added they did not have the required 20 members to carry out impeachment, and noted that the two members of the House who were outside the state were contacted and they said they were not in support of any impeachment.
Meanwhile, in his reaction, the governor commended members of the Anambra State House of Assembly for the mature way they handled the minor misunderstanding that arose in the House yesterday.
Speaking from Paris where he is on official tour with President Muhammadu Buhari, Obiano commended Maduagwu, the principal officers and other members of the House for rising to the acid test of true democracy. He said the matter would have degenerated to something unpleasant if handled by a less competent crop of leaders.
In a statement signed by the governor’s Chief Press Secretary, James Eze, he expressed confidence in the ability of Anambra lawmakers to always resolve their differences in the truest tradition of representative democracy and forge stronger ties that would accelerate the development of the state.
He also expressed contentment with the assurances by the speaker and the principal officers of the House that whatever grey areas that might be lingering would be amicably resolved in the next few days.