May 26, 2024

Defection: Rivers factional speaker declares 27 seats of defected lawmakers vacant

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Defection: Rivers factional speaker declares 27 seats of defected lawmakers vacant

Edison Ehie, the factional Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, has declared the seats of 27 lawmakers vacant over their defection from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Ehie, who leads a five-member group loyal to Governor Siminalayi Fubara, declared vacant all the seats of all the lawmakers in the Martins Amaewhule-led group.

Ehie and Amaewhule have been embroiled in a Speakership tussle that is in court.

Ehie and his allies decided on an undisclosed venue used for plenary on Wednesday following the demolition of the Assembly Complex by the state government.

The governor also presented the N800bn 2024 budget estimates to the Ehie-led group at the Government House at the same moment the demolition of the Assembly Complex was carried out.

The Rivers State Executive Council had earlier approved the budget tagged the ‘Budget of Renewed Hope, Consolidation and Continuity’.

The 27 members were said to be loyal to Amaewhule, who is an ally of Nyesom Wike, a former governor of the state till May 29, 2023.

The defection of the lawmakers was said to be a direct response to a mass exodus of some grassroots politicians from the APC and Social Democratic Party (SDP) to the PDP last weekend.

The crisis in the 32-member Assembly had begun as a result of a rift between Fubara and his predecessor, Wike

In October, the Assembly under Amaewhule served an impeachment notice on Fubara and removed Ehie as the House leader. However, some members of the Assembly loyal to Fubara immediately impeached Amaewhule and made Ehie the new Speaker.

A Rivers High Court sitting in Port Harcourt subsequently restrained the Amaewhule-led group from forcefully gaining access into the assembly complex, pending the hearing of the suit before it.

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