The speaker of Imo State House of Assembly, Kennedy Ibe lacks the constitutional power to declare vacant the Nkwerre Constituency seat, the ousted lawmaker, Obinna Okwara has said.
Okwara, who spoke to our correspondent on Thursday, April 7, 2022 had his seat declared vacant by the speaker during a plenary on Wednesday, April 6.
The reason adduced by the House for the action was because he defected to Peoples Democratic Party from the All Progressives Congress last week.
Okwara said that the speaker was preempting the court, pointing out that there are over five cases at the Federal High Court in Owerri challenging the defection of 17 lawmakers to the APC by some groups.
Okwara said that the speaker who defected to Peoples Democratic Party and All Progressives Congress from Action Alliance since 2019 is a party in the suits.
He said it was sub judice for the speaker to interfere in a matter that is already in court which he is a co-defendant, adding that Ibe risked a jail term.
Okwara said; “The speaker risks a jail term for declaring my seat vacant. The matter he dabbled into is sub judice. There are five suits at the Federal High in Owerri challenging the defection of 17 out of the 27 Imo lawmakers from PDP to APC.
“We are lawmakers. We don’t interpret the laws. The courts do. He who goes to equity must go with a clean hands. The speaker should first declare his own seat vacant for defecting to three political parties in four political outings in three years.
“He was sponsored by Action Alliance for his reelection in 2019. Shortly after his inauguration, he joined PDP when Emeka Ihedioha was the governor. Immediately Hope Uzodimma came on board, he joined APC. Just look at cattle calling pot black.
“You don’t keep something on nothing and expect it to stand. Who is even the complainant in this matter? Did I write any letter to the house announcing my defection to the PDP?. This is a parliament that suspended me for attending the burial ceremony of Uche Nwosu’s mother in December.
“I will go to court for the interpretation of the Section 109 which he relied on to declare my seat vacant. He doesn’t have the right. He has shot himself in the foot and I am not moved by his shenanigans.”
Okwara accused the speaker of leading the parliament astray, adding that “Imo state house of Assembly is now a Fuji House of Commotion. It is very unfortunate that Kennedy Ibe in his desperation has destroyed the integrity of our parliament.”
The Chief Press Secretary to the Speaker, Ifeanyi Onyekachi, insisted that the speaker acted in compliance with Section 109 of the 1999 constitution as amended before sacking Okwara on Wednesday.