Posted by Vanguard on
SPEAKER of Bayelsa State House of Assembly, Hon Peremobowe Ebebi, says there is no going back on the move by members of the parliament to impeach Governor Diepreye Alamieyeseigha
SPEAKER of Bayelsa State House of Assembly, Hon Peremobowe Ebebi, says there is no going back on the move by members of the parliament to impeach Governor Diepreye Alamieyeseigha in spite of the pulling out, Friday, of nine members from the plan, boasting that the pro-impeachment legislators had the stipulated two/third majority to sack the governor.
Ebebi spoke just as the Clerk of the Assembly; Elder Koru George, was sent on compulsory leave by the state government for allegedly supporting the anti-Alamieyeseigha camp. A new clerk, Mr. Phillip Ere, said, to be a relation of the governor, has been appointed to replace him, albeit in an acting capacity.
Already, there are fears that some commissioners who are working at cross-purposes with the governor over the impeachment plan might be replaced and that has sent the black sheep panicking.
A source also hinted yesterday that some Bayelsa leaders, said to be sponsoring demonstrations against the governor, have been invited to Abuja for discussions.
An official of the state government, however, told Sunday Vanguard in Yenagoa that the Speaker was joking, as the 15 members presently in the Alameyeseigha-must-go group were not up to the two/third majority required by the Constitution to impeach a governor.
Alamieyeseigha’s planned impeachment has the blessing of the national leadership of the PDP, which not only expelled him, last Thursday, but also directed the Assembly in the state to explore all possible means to remove him from office.
However, the governor’s camp has mapped out strong strategies to stop the impeachment. Some royal fathers, led by a former governor of the old Rivers state, King Alfred Diete-Spiff, have been consulting with the stakeholders to let peace reign in Bayelsa State.
“How can they impeach the governor with 15 out of the 24 members of the House when the Constitution says two/third, that is to say 16 members. They were forced against their will to sign an impeachment notice by the EFCC and like those who fled Abuja and came to Yenagoa to disown the impeachment notice, more of the lawmakers will surely back out of the impeachment bid when they return to Yenagoa because everybody knows that they are not doing what they are doing now from their own conscience”, one of the aides of Alamieyeseigha asked, last night.
But the speaker insisted in an interview with Sunday Vanguard that the lawmakers were not forced to issue an impeachment notice against the governor. “Did any of the lawmakers tell you that he was detained by the EFCC? 20 of us signed an impeachment notice against the governor and only eight members are required by law to sign it. The EFCC did not compel us to do anything, they in deed treated us well”.
Reminded of the governor’s position that the impeachment notice had not been served on him, Ebebi asserted that Alamieyeseigha was standing the truth on the head, as it was sent through DHL to him.
“He cannot say that he has not received the impeachment notice. Besides, we also published it in one of the national newspapers or is he saying that he is not in the country and did not see it?”.
The speaker maintained that the action of the lawmakers who pulled out from the impeachment plot would not in any way affect the removal of the governor, saying that they have betrayed the people of the state and at the appropriate time, the people would ask them questions.
He denied that the pro-impeachment legislators were given money by the powers that be to impeach Alamieyeseigha, saying that it was the governor that gave those that turned their back after signing the impeachment notice money.
Contrary to the claim by anti-impeachment lawmakers that some of them were detained by the EFCC and forced to sign the impeachment notice, Ebebi said that nobody was detained and that the Commission treated us well.
Among the 24 members of the House, the impeachment notice was signed by the speaker, deputy speaker, Bright Erewari; Jephtath Fonigha, who incidentally was among the people that received Alamieyeseigha in Yenagoa when he returned, last Monday, before he dashed to Lagos to endorse the document; Robert Enogha; Hawkins Kalabo; Saibarugu Werinipre; Franklin Otele; Emomotimi Fanama; Amalanyo Yousuo, the AD member of the House who escaped from EFCC custody; Amakiri Etebu; Nimibofa Ayaowei; Waripamowei Dudafa; Ofoni Williams; Benaduomene Dein; Nelson Belief; Opusiri Otobo; Elliot Osumo; Adolphus Ofongo; Nada Karibo; and Arthur Akpeti.
However, about three of the lawmakers who signed the notice disowned it, Friday, in Yenagoa, saying that they were forced to do so. Ayaowei punctured the claim of the speaker that the impeachment notice was not signed under duress. He said that the impeachment notice was already prepared by the EFCC and that each of the lawmakers that signed it was compelled to do so.
“On getting there (EFCC), individual members were called one after the other and what happened to other members, you wouldn’t know until you were there yourself. When it got to my turn, immediately I got there, I was shown an impeachment notice and was asked to sign it. I told them bluntly that I was not going to sign. They threw me into a cell, where I met 13 members of Taraba State House of Assembly incarcerated there”, he said
Ayaowei said his name was 19th on the list and that he signed to save his life at that point in time because he did not know whether the EFCC had orders to harm those that refused to sign. He expressed confidence that other lawmakers who signed the impeachment notice against their will would say the truth when they return to Yenagoa.
The nine lawmakers in Alamieyeseigha’s camp for now are the impeached speaker, Boyelayefa Debekeme; Steve Ereboh; Bright Agagaowei and Johnson Alalibo who did not honour the EFCC invitation at all and Ofoni Williams; Amalanyo Yousuo; Nimbofa Ayaowei, Waripamowei Dudafa; Johnson Alalibo and Amakiri Etebu.
Ebebi said the actual strength of both sides would be tested when the House sits in Yenagoa but even as speculation was rife that the lawmakers who have been away since Monday, last week, would sit tomorrow, the speaker was not categorical on when he would return to the state when he spoke to Sunday Vanguard. He accused the governor of causing tension in the state with the drafting of armed youths to guard him, saying that his Amassoma home was filled with the boys who had been given weapons to cause mayhem in the state.
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