The Deputy Speaker of the Ebonyi State House of Assembly, Mr. Valentine Okike, was Thursday impeached on the grounds of gross misconduct, insubordination and plot to impeach the leadership of the assembly.
The assembly also suspended the lawmaker and set up a seven-member committee to look into the allegations against him and report back to the assembly within two weeks.
In a motion moved by a member representing Ezza South, Hon. Chris Usulor, accused the former deputy speaker of gross misconduct which undermined his office and it, thereby bringing it to disrepute.
He alleged that the former deputy speaker was going from one office to another causing disaffection and plotting to impeach the leadership of the assembly.
According to him “the Deputy Speaker has been in the habit of moving from one office to another, reporting the leadership, causing disaffection, causing fragmentation in the assembly, promoting conflict and at the same time plotting to impeach the leadership. Mr. Speaker from all indications the Deputy Speaker has been in the forefront of promoting disaffection in this assembly and insubordination to the leadership.
“Based on this and in accordance with Section 92 sub section 2c of the 1999 Constitution which states inter alia, “the speaker or the deputy speaker shall vacate office if he is removed from office by a resolution of the House of Assembly by a vote of not less than two third of the members of the house.”
“And the way he dresses by wearing boxers to official function and in the assembly, people are calling us a house without rules if the deputy speaker who is under oath to protect the integrity of the assembly and the constitution is at the forefront of breaching the two.
The motion, which seconded by a member representing Ohaukwu North constituency Mr. Frank Onwe, described the allegations against Okike as very damaging to the image of the assembly.
The Speaker of the House, Chief Chukwuma Nwazunku, put the motion to voice vote and the assembly unanimously supported the Deputy Speaker’s impeachment.
The Chief Whip of the assembly, Hon. Ogbonnaya Ikoro, moved another motion calling for his suspension and the setting up of a committee to look into the allegations which was seconded by the Minority Leader, Hon. Enyi C. Enyi.
Meanwhile, a new Deputy Speaker, Mr. Blaise Orji Eze, from Afikpo South East has been elected to replace Okike.
His election was based on the nomination by a member representing Afikpo South West, Hon. Eni Uduma, saying that a vacuum had been created which should be filled immediately.
This was immediately put to another voice vote by the Speaker after Hon. Abel Aleke from Ohaukwu South Constituency seconded the nomination and it was unanimously adopted.
The new deputy speaker was immediately sworn-in after he was administered with the oath of office by the Clerk of the assembly, Mrs. Rose Nwokporo.
Orji described the action of the assembly as democracy in motion.
He thanked the Speaker and his colleagues for the opportunity given to him to serve and promised to serve diligently.