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Ebonyi PDP, Speaker Bicker As Assembly Removes Chief Whip

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The Ebonyi State Chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and the Speaker of the State’s House of Assembly, Hon. Francis Nwifuru, are trading tackles over the removal of the Chief Whip of the House and Member representing Ikwo South State Constituency, Hon. Humpbery Nwuruku, from office.

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Nwuruku was removed during plenary on Monday as Chief Whip following a letter signed by fifteen members of the House, wherein they resolved that he be removed from office.

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A statement signed by the Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Barr. Silas Onu,and made available to Journalists in Abakaliki, alleged that Nwuruku’s removal was illegal and should be reversed immediately.

Nwuruku is one of the Lawmakers who refused to decamp to the APC with Governor Umahi.

The party insisted that “Nwuruku remains the Chief Whip of the House”, and called on the Speaker to desist from heating up the already tensed environment in Ebonyi State with his “reckless act of lawlessness”.

The statement by the PDP reads in part, “The attention of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Ebonyi State Chapter has been drawn to the purported removal of the Chief Whip of the Ebonyi State House of Assembly by the Speaker of the House acting illegally.

“It is important to state here that the office of Chief Whip is a position reserved for the party in the majority to decide which member it prefer to occupy that position. It is not an office that is open to the whims and caprices of the Speaker of the House of Assembly.

“However, if the Speaker is by this action announcing that the People’s Democratic Party is no longer the majority in the Ebonyi State House of Assembly, then he need to make it more formal, so that the Party can also act appropriately in the circumstance.

“In the absence of any open reckless act of cross-carpetting by the Speaker and his co-travellers, it is reprehensible and condemnable for the Speaker to have acted in a most grossly unparliamentary manner as to purport to have removed the Chief Whip of the State House of Assembly.

“The Speaker is called upon to desist from heating up the already tensed environment in Ebonyi State with his reckless act of lawlessness. He should, at the least, be able to understand the workings of a House of Assembly or his Speakership role will be in doubt as to his mental capacity of handling such an important office.

“Hon. Engr. Humphrey Nwurukwu remains the Chief Whip as duly selected by the People’s Democratic Party and it is not in the place of any other authority in the House to remove him, unless the majority is lost through a constitutionally recognized procedure.

“Finally, members of the Ebonyi State House of Assembly are by this notice, urged to disregard, discountenance and utterly ignore the slavish action of the Speaker and continue to work with Hon. Humphrey as the Chief Whip of the Ebonyi State House of Assembly.”

But the Speaker, Nwifuru, while replying the PDP in a press state signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Leo Ekene Oketa, maintained that Nwuruku’s removal followed all due processes.

“A letter signed by 15 Honourable Members of the House was addressed to the Honourable Speaker, requesting the removal of the Chief Whip. Mr. Speaker put it to question and the simple majority led the day.

“It is, therefore, a crass ignorance of the workings of the legislature for Barr. Silas Joseph Onu, to have opined that the removal of Hon. Engr. Humphrey Nwuruku was illegal. To say the least, it is as legal as the word ‘legal’”, the statement reads in part.

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