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Akwa Ibom House Of Assembly Crisis – ‘Dancing Into A Trap’

Akwa Ibom House Of AssemblyBy Wisdom Peter,

It has been reported that the Akwa Ibom State Government declared five seats in the State House vacant because its members defected to the All Progressive’s Party.

According to a report written by Ekemini Simon with the Title; AKHA – Dancing Into a Trap

The crisis currently taking over the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly is quite unfortunate and in truth needless.

It is no more news that the Speaker of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Rt Hon Onofiok Luke had declared the seat of five members who recently defected from the Peoples Democratic Party to the All Progressives Congress vacant.

Speaker Luke says the sack, is in line with section 109 sub 1G of the 1999 constitution as amended.

Consequent upon the sack, the peace of the House has been breached leading to destruction of properties, protest, declaration of factional House with a factional speaker and most unfortunately and disappointingly the siege of the Assembly Complex by security agencies.

As expected, this development has thrown up the State at the front burner for discourse and sadly for the unpalatable reasons. But for this issue to be solved, we must start from the root. Declaring the seats of House members whose cases are still in court was hasty, rash and antithetical to all known judicial proceedings.

How can one execute a single judgment when the matter has not been exhausted by all hierarchy of the courts. Besides, on Idongesit Ituen’s case, the case on Stay of Execution was still pending in court.

Onofiok Luke is a lawmaker and a lawyer. Many in the House of Assembly are blessed with such qualifications. The gesture coming from such a rank is rather surprising to say the least. Common sense should make anyone and most importantly a lawyer understand that after a judgment from a Federal High Court, there is also a room for appeal at the Appeal Court and as the case may be Supreme Court.
When all these steps are exhausted, that’s when execution is appropriate. Hastiness is not needed when dealing with matters of the court.

This known procedure played out when the Federal High Court months ago ruled in favour of Hon Bassey Etim against Senator Bassey Albert for the Akwa Ibom North East seat.

Despite repeated demand to take over Bassey Albert’s seat based on the judgment of the court, the Senate President, Bukola Saraki understood that cases must be exhausted at the court hierarchy before he could be
obliged to execute the court ruling. If this does not suffice, then tell me why Governor Udom Emmanuel did not leave his seat when the Appeal Court nullified the 2015 elections? He waited upon the Supreme Court and he triumphed.

Hence, hastiness in the implementation of a singular judgment without waiting for the case to be exhaustive will be shooting self on the leg.

It would be making mockery of the legislature if a higher court rules against the lower court. One is really persuaded to wonder, was declaring the seats of defected members a subject of urgent public importance? Why did this gesture not play out when Asuquo Archibong, the member representing Urue Offong/Oruko State Constituency who was elected through APC, defected to PDP? The fact is that in all these, “the State is rather dancing into the trap of the APC towards 2019 election.”

The APC understands their strength although a mischievous one. It is a common knowledge that they plot to use violence and beach of peace to bring in Federal might in the execution of their aspirations. This has
been confirmed by the loudmouthed boast of their faithfuls and most importantly their leader, Senator Akpabio in a term that has come to be known widely as Warsaw.
Why play into that trap? Why instigate them to have reasons to deploy their might? Can the State stand that might?

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One could remember that one of the things that worked against Immediate Past Governor of Ekiti State, Ayo Fayose was that he did things that made it appear that he is challenging “Federal Might”.

The result we all know. This is not an administration that understands the language of civility engendered by democracy. If you don’t have the mechanism to act like them, then everything within you should intimidate you that this is not a time for empty aluta bravado.

Waging a war where your enemy stands more equipped than you demands craftiness and prudence. In fact, Robert Greene in his 48 laws of Power mentions what could have allowed this situation sail smoothly without chaos. In Law 35, he points out the magic of Mastering the Art of Timing.

He says ” Never seem to be in a hurry- hurrying betrays a lack of control over yourself, and over time. Always seem patient, as if you know that everything will come to you eventually. Become a detective
of the right moment; sniff out the spirit of the times, the trends that will carry you to power. Learn to stand back when the time is not yet ripe, and to strike fiercely when it has reached fruition”.

Recognising the prevailing winds does not necessarily mean running with them. The fact is that any potent social movement creates a powerful reaction, and it is wise to anticipate what that reaction will be. Why not wait for the tide’s ebb? Is there need to reiterate that if the leadership of the House relied upon the court to exhaust the matter before declaring the seat of members vacant, this situation the State has found itself would have not happened at least for now?

It must be stated that as it stands now, the legislators who defected with their cases still pending in court are still bonafide members of the House of Assembly by law. Consequent upon that, they have the right to partake in the activities of the House of Assembly until the Court says otherwise.

On the siege at the House of Assembly, that is brazenly illegal. Akwa Ibom State is not Sambisa or other insurgent prone area. The Federal Government should redirect their might where it is better needed.

Barricading the House of Assembly in attempt to carry out notorious bidding is an affront on democracy and Akwa Ibom people. On the whole, the recent happenings suggest that this is a critical time for Akwa Ibom people to be watchful.

This is neither a time to set trap against the peace of the State nor time for rascality which may lead to breach of peace.

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