8 days after TheMail Newspaper exclusively reported that there have been sinister moves by few House Members to impeach Rt. Hon. Onofiok Luke as Speaker of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, the Speaker’s right-hand-man, Hon. Usoro Akpanusoh has confirmed that those listed by the paper are truly against the leadership of the House.
Speaking with TheMail reporter, Mr. Akpanusoh who has received several backlash from members of the public for sponsoring the “unpopular” Real Property Charge Bill said those who were listed as co-sponsors but later came out to deny having anything to do with the bill are those who are against the Onofiok Luke leadership of the Assembly.
He said: “Coming out now to deny being a co-sponsor of the bill is very funny. About seven (7) of them who are doing that are anti leadership. They think by doing that they are rubbishing the leadership of the House. That is the angle they are coming from. If they said they opposed the bill in executive session, that is being ignorant of the law. Is there anything like executive session in the Standing orders of the House? The law does not recognize that. Be bold enough to state your mind at plenary”.
Usoro who is the member representing Esit Eket/Ibeno State Constituency in the Assembly said that the denial by some of his colleagues as not being cosponsors to the bill was false and unfortunate as he is yet to receive their letter rejecting to be joint sponsors of the bill.
TheMail had revealed that Hon. Nse Essien (a.k.a Indo) representing ONNA State Constituency had led four other lawmakers namely: Rt. Hon. Aniekan Uko (Ibesikpo Asutan), Hon. Mark Esset (Nsit Atai), Hon. Aniekan Bassey (Uruan) and Monday Eyo (Uyo) to hatch plans to unseat the Speaker.
Their grievance, according to inside sources is because of alleged high-handedness and sidelining by Mr. Luke. The listed lawmakers are said to be angered that the Speaker has given out key, sensitive and lucrative positions/committees to the likes of Usoro Akpanusoh and Idongesit Ituen while them who fought for his emergence as the Speaker against all odds have been sidelined in sharing of “goodies”.
Usoro Akpanusoh heads the very coveted Finance and Appropriation Committee while Idongesit Ituen of Itu State Constituency is the Chairman, House Committee on Works and Transport.
The latest claims by Usoro give credence to insinuations that there are cracks in the House of Assembly.
The alleged anti-leadership members of the Assembly had however distanced themselves from the plot to sack Barr. Onofiok Luke.
Former Speaker Aniekan Uko was the first Assemblyman to oppose the bill on the floor of the House. He also took to his Facebook timeline to campaign against the bill, saying it is anti-people.
The 4 others listed above also distanced themselves from the said bill when TheMail reporter contacted them.
According to Member Onna State Constituency, Hon. Nse Essien, he has never been part of the bill, and added that he has on more than two occasions in an executive session prevailed on the Speaker of the House and his colleagues not to present the bill for consideration.
He added ” that day the bill was read the second time I was not at plenary. I would have opposed it. I am sure if I was around I would have been able to present to my colleagues the dangers of presenting the bill. How can a person opposing a bill in an executive session be a cosponsor?”
On the part of Member Nsit Atai, Hon Mark Esset, he is surprise to see his name as a cosponsor of a bill that had not received his blessings and contribution.
He said “I am not part and parcel of that bill. I can never be a cosponsor of such an anti people bill. That day I traveled. If I was around, I would have opposed such a bill”.
While disassociating self from the said bill, Member representing Uyo State Constituency, Hon Monday Eyo said ” I cannot be a co-sponsor of a bill that is against the people who elected me into office, I understand the plight of the people out there and will never do things that will go contrary to the mandate I was given”.
Also reacting, Member Uruan State Constituency said that although his consent was sought as a cosponsor after presenting it for first reading, himself, Member Ikot Abasi, Hon Uduak Odudoh, Hon Mark Esset, Hon Nse Essien, Hon Aniekan Uko among others had opposed the bill and discouraged it from being considered for second reading.
He wondered how he could cosponsor the bill when he had already sponsored Tenancy bill that protects Akwa Ibom people from paying more than a year rent.
Hon Bassey however pointed out that there is no cause for alarm since the bill was only read for a second time. He advised all who have contributions against the bill to register their displeasure at public hearing, adding that when such is done, he was sure the wish of the people will prevail.
Insiders in the Assembly who spoke to our reporter on condition of anonymity said that those who are against the bill are the aggrieved lawmakers who were looking for ways to make the Onofiok Luke led Assembly which is called the “Peoples’ Assembly” look anti-people before members of the people, hence their denial of ever getting involved in the bill.