The convoy of Rita Maduagwu, then Speaker Anambra State House of Assembly quietly left the complex at exactly 5:45pm on that fateful day.
She had in her custody, one of the maces of the State House of Assembly, which is the symbol of her authority. This was in a bid to avert being impeached by her colleagues.
Inside the hallowed chambers of the Assembly, the lawmakers battled to no end to impeach Maduagwu, but for the member representing Anambra East Constituency, Pharm. Obinna Emenaka, who grabbed the second mace. He insisted that it was not the official mace of the Assembly.
Maduagwu escaped being impeached for the fifth time. No thanks to Governor Willie Obiano and his wife Ebele Obiano.
The fourth attempt earlier saw the governor coming to the Assembly Complex himself and had a two-hour meeting with the members of the Assembly.
But on the seventh attempt Maduagwu was not lucky, as 22 of the 30- member House, including the Principal Officers appended their signatures to the impeachment document, even though 25 of them participated in the final meeting, where the decision to impeach her was taken.
According to a resolution signed by the members it stated thus: “Following the clear and continuous messy situation that the 6th Assembly of Anambra State, has been plunged into since the emergence of Rt. Rita Maduagwu, as the speaker. The height of the manner the house has been treated with contempt, disdain and openly derided in recent times by the Executive and other members of the larger society who, but for mutual respect with the House of Assembly as envisaged under the constitution of the Federal republic of Nigeria.
“Disturbed that Rt. Hon. Rita Maduagwu, has ignobly made a career of peddling falsehood and sundry other divisive maneuvering against the House of Assembly and its well such attitude despite numerous attempts to get her tow the path of responsible leadership.
“Deeply troubled that as a result of the Speaker’s dishonesty, high handedness, disrespect to the institution of the legislature, the house and its members have been subjected to ridicule, public odium and has lost corporate respect as was witnessed recently, where charlatans were unleashed to harass and humiliate house members, who dared to indicate interest to return or seek higher platform in the National Assembly.”
However, Maduagwu insisted that only 12 remembers signed the impeachment papers, hence her purported impeachment was a nullity.
Nevertheless, last Thursday, amidst over hundred policemen that had blocked the major road to the Assembly complex, the newly elected Speaker, Ikem Uzoezie and members of the Assembly were guided into the complex by the security operatives and they went into executive session and ended up in plenary.
While they met, the former Speaker Maduagwu was in the Assembly Complex with her own supporters, but they did not sit.
The clerk of the Assembly Mr. Pius Udo, however, painted an unclear picture of the situation on ground.
Udo told reporters that he sent text messages to all members that the Assembly will not sit on that Thursday.
“I sent messages to the two groups that we are not going to sit so I wonder why they are here today”
It was reliably gathered that a certain text message was circulated to the faction of the Assembly that impeached Maduagwu, which was aimed at preventing them from sitting.
The source further confirmed that the former Speaker was aware of the plot in a bid to sit and create the impression that she was still in charge.
Currently, the lingering crisis is already attracting interested parties. It was learnt that aspirants that were allegedly short changed during the primary elections of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) are trying to join the war.
Mrs. Philomena Okeke representing Nnewi South Local Government, where the former Speaker hails from, told Sunday Telegraph that the crisis in the Assembly is as a result of the manipulated primaries.
“Most of us have been members of APGA from the beginning and we also helped our party to win the last governorship election. But the primaries they extorted money from us and nominated the highest bidder.”
“Rita Maduagwu did not win her primary election. She lost and later they changed everything and gave her ticket. Similar things happened to most members of the Assembly and now they are fighting back.
“We the aggrieved aspirants are in support of the impeachment and let heavens fall. If the powers that be insists that Rita should remain there that would be the end of APGA in Anambra State,” he explained.
The statements credited to the Governors Chief press secretary appears not to be helping matters.
The release alleged that the crisis is a prelude to the impeachment of Governor Willie Obiano which Uzozie dismissed.
“It is important to note that Governor Willie Obiano is a hard working governor and we do not have anything against him.
“We are 25 in number that signed the impeachment and the former speaker has to go due to gross incompetence. We have bills and motions that have not been looked into including executive and private member bills and motions.
“We want to make it clear that there is no plan to impeach the governor and members of the public are urged to discountenance such stories.
“Since the inception of Rita Maduagwu as Speaker of the Assembly, the House has remained comatose and we assure Nigerians that we shall discharge our duties and carry out our over sight functions creditably”.
Political watchers are, however, apprehensive that should the governor stands his grounds in support of the former speaker, his traducers would cash in on it to make the state ungovernable and that according to them would spell doom for him and the state politically.
Already allegations have started flying that former governor Peter Obi has a hand in the crisis which Uzozie challenged and recalled that: “The last time I spoke with the former governor is about five years ago”.
Similarly, Chief Ifeanyi Ubah’s name is also being mentioned following his face off with the governor.
But Ubah told Sunday Telegraph that “I know that they would mention my name but you know that if I am involved it would not be like this.
“The governor should carry his cross and face his problems. I have more important things to do than condescending so low as that!”
While the crisis lasts, the governor is expected to present his 2019 appropriation bill to the Assembly and pundits wonder which of the factions he would present the budget to.
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