Members of the Delta State House of Assembly have impeached the Speaker, Chief Monday Igbuya, at an unusual plenary session held at about 7am on Thursday. They hurriedly replaced him with the member representing Okpe Constituency, Chief Sheriff Oboriowori.
Igbuya, whose position had come under threat in the last two years on three occasions, was impeached at a sitting presided over by his deputy, Mr. Friday Osanebi, with 22 out of the 29 members of the House assenting to his removal.
Immediately the House was convened, Mr. Johnson Erijo, moved a motion for the Speaker’s removal under matters of urgent public importance, and the motion was seconded by Daniel Mayuku.
Addressing the House, Erijo told his colleagues that there was a need to remove Igbuya because he lacked the competence to handle the office of the Speaker.
Ejiro also highlighted Igbuya’s highhandedness and his unacceptable leadership style as the impeached Speaker’s other offences.
He added that there was the need for a new Speaker as the state legislature was key to the growth of democracy and development of the state.
Also impeached was the Majority Leader of the House, Mr. Tim Owhefere, who was replaced by Mr. Johnson Erijo at a sitting which had the clerk and sergeant-at-arm of the Assembly in attendance.
After they were removed by the lawmakers, Igbuya was handed a three-month suspension while Owhefere was suspended indefinitely.
The new Speaker, Oboriowori , in his acceptance speech, vowed to uphold the integrity of the House and called for the support of its members to deliver on his new responsibility.
Oboriowori also promised to adhere strictly to the rules of the House, noting that as the first among equals he would accord every member his due respect and thereafter announced the dissolution of all standing committees of the House.
The House, after the new Speaker’s speech, adjourned sitting till Tuesday, May 23, 2017.
Upon Igbuya’s removal, the new leadership and House members proceeded to meet the state Governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, to inform him about the change in leadership.
The moment the news of the Speaker’s removal went into town, Igbuya, who was absent at the sitting where he was removed, reached out to prominent leaders and politicians in the state to intervene in the matter so as to pressurise the lawmakers to rescind their decision.
Okowa’s meeting with the lawmakers immediately was held behind closed doors with some politicians urging the governor to save the situation.
But the meeting ended in a deadlock after several hours.
The meeting was attended by Igbuya, Okowa’s deputy, Deacon Kingsley Otuaro, Chief Steve Oru, a former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, commissioners and the chairman of the PDP in the state, Olorogun Kingsley Esiso.
In spite of the pleas from Okowa, the impeached Speaker and other leaders of the party in the state, the lawmakers vowed not to rescind their decision.
Reacting to the impeachment, the Deputy National Chairman of the Alhaji Ali Modu Sheriff-led PDP, Dr. Cairo Ojougboh, described the removal of Igbuya as criminal alleging that it was done to satisfy Okowa’s ambition.
Ojougboh, in a statement released on Thursday evening, advised the impeached Speaker not to despair but to see his removal as a victory for his person and the genuine democratic forces in the state.
He said, “The attention of Hon. Cairo Ojougboh, the Deputy National Chairman of the PDP, has been drawn to the criminal removal of Hon. Monday Igbuya as the Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, Asaba.
“Igbuya was removed from office because he accompanied His Excellency, Chief James Ibori, to visit the governor and the good people of Bayelsa State. His problem with Okowa started immediately after that visit but we must state that Hon. Monday Igbuya has served creditably well and we are proud of his services to the people of Delta State.
“Governor Okowa should be reminded that power belongs to God and that it is transient. He should also be reminded that eight years is not forever and therefore, be mindful of how he treats people while in power.”