Rivers crisis: Amaewhule speaks out on defection, hints on attack of Assembly members
The factional speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Martin Amaewhule has insisted that the defection of the 27 lawmakers from the People Democratic Party(PDP) to the All Progressives Congress(APC) was due to the crisis in the former party.
Amaewhule, while addressing state delegates at the APC Dedication Service and Stakeholders Meeting held at the Port Harcourt Polo Club, said the lawmakers abandoned the PDP for the APC because of not only the crisis rocking the party, but the leadership style of the leader of the ruling party, President Bola Tinubu.
He claimed that the defected member of the house followed due process, and acted on section 109 subsection 1 of the 1999 Constitution. “We have 27 members of the Rivers State House of Assembly who defected from the PDP to the APC. Some days ago, we defected inside the Hallowed Chambers of the Rivers State House of Assembly in line with section 109 of the 1999 Constitution. We made sure that we followed due process, and that we did not do anything outside the provisions of the said constitution. It has given room for people to defect, which is why in section 109 subsection 1g, which allows serving legislators who want to defect to do so, There is a division in the PDP. So in line with that section, we defected to the APC.”
“Remember that the Constitution has also said it is the speaker who will give effect to section 109 subsection 1. We have all the particulars and evidence that the Constitution referred to that should be produced and it has been sent to the House of Assembly to show that there is division in the PDP that necessitated our decision to go to the APC. We have a reason we moved to the APC. It stems from what the leader of this party in the country has started, which is the Renewed Hope Agenda. It is no mere talk that the president has good intentions for Rivers people.”
Recall that some time ago the leadership of the PDP visited the President in Abuja. We raised the issue of the East-West road and he told us to go home and that it would be done and work is going on there now.
“He appointed those who are not members of his party that are from this state, so when asked which party to go to. The president has started well.”
Amaewhule noted that despite the burning and consequent demolition of the Assembly Complex, the PDP never said anything, making no official statement from the PDP to condemn such abuse of power.
He said the PDP’s loud silence show shows that they were not interested in what happened to the legislators adding that deciding to be in the APC was a conscious one.
He also accuses the governor, Siminalayi Fubara of flouting the provisions of the constitution by not funding the Legislative arm of government in the state.
According to him: “What the governor is doing by not releasing funds to the state legislature is against the constitution. He is doing everything differently from what the Constitution says he should do. He has stopped funding the Assembly and withheld funds from the Assembly, that is misconduct. As we speak, he demolished the Assembly complex, built with taxpayers’ money, not minding that our property is there and not that what he is doing is against the law.
“We heard that four people from the Committee of Friends are meeting somewhere. But the House of Assembly is defined that the only way you can convene the house is to have a quorum. And a quorum is eleven, and if it is not up to 11, anything that they do is a social club.
“Even if they like, they should carry all the funds of the state and give them to them; they do not have that name, House of Assembly because the Constitution stipulates the definition of an Assembly.”
He, however, hinted that there are plots to attack the Assembly Quarters on Monday, insisting that no matter the attack the lawmakers will be resolute.
” We heard from credible information that they are planning to attack us tomorrow. They use the youth as an instrument of attack, just as they attacked my resident the other day.
“There is no form of attack that will deter us, we remain resolute because we have the mandate of Rivers people to be the House of Assembly. We will continue to sit and make what he promised to present evidence when the time is right.”
Earlier the Caretaker Committee Chairman of the APC, Tony Okocha, accused the Governor of setting the Assembly Complex ablaze.
He said: “What the governor is consolidating is to burn Rivers State House of Assembly. I speak as the leader of the opposition party in Rivers state and I challenge the governor and PDP to prove to Rivers people that they are not the ones responsible for the burning of the Assembly, if he was not, why did he not set up a panel of inquiry.”
However, the APC National Legal Adviser, Professor Abdulkarim Kana symbolically handed the broom to the defectors to officially welcome them to the party.