The Delta State House of Assembly sitting in Asaba at the resumed plenary on Tuesday November 10, 2015 and after six weeks of recess hallmarked by a foreign trip abroad, dramatically slammed a three month suspension order on two prominent legislators, on grounds of accumulated indiscretions and conduct unbecoming of legislators.
The axed members are the Chief Whip of the House and member representing Oshimili North constituency Hon (Barr) Princess Pat Ajudua and Hon (Prince) Johnson Erijo representing Isoko South (2) Constituency who were both alleged to have desecrated the hallowed chamber of the House by their activities.
Moving the motion before the House, the Majority Leader, Hon. Tim Owhefere said it behoved him to draw the attention of the House anytime the integrity of the lawmakers was brought to a disrepute, which had informed his opinion to seek the suspension of the two erring lawmakers.
The Minority Leader, Hon Festus Okoh Chukwuyem seconded the motion and after being put to a voice vote by the Speaker, Hon Igbuya, their suspension was unanimously adopted.
Consequently, the two erring lawmakers were escorted out of the chamber by the Sergeant at arms.
The Speaker Rt Hon Monday Igbuya, who equally presided over the passing of a vote of confidence on the performance of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa so far, then urged the lawmakers to be more committed with the business of lawmaking so as to assist in providing good governance to the state.
Incontrovertible Delta Assembly grapevine sources hint that there may be more to this dramatic suspension of two of the ranking members of the DTHA, especially coming in the wake of an avalanche of PDP House of Assembly members victories, including important ones like those of the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Monday Igbuya, Hon. Ajuduah and Hon. Erijo recently, at the Delta election petitions tribunal.
The sources suggest that prior to the eargerly awaited tribunal judgement in all the Delta State election petions matters, particularly those of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa and Speaker Igbuya, covert and clandestine plotting had been brewing amongst factional groupings, which were keen to position themselves in the emergence of any eventualities,
The widely held speculation that a Governorship re-run election was imminent in the State had been rife and the suggestion of a subtle, yet intensive scheme to re-configure the leadership of the Delta State House of Assembly in view of the anticipated legal game-changer, had gained so much currency that a purpoted alternative plot to pre-empt the tribunal judgement with a calculated legislative overlap into executive territory was bandied in the corridors of power.
Those who remembered how a former Speaker, Rt. Hon. Victor Occhei was clinically overwhelmed and outfoxed into premature resignation, by forces playing, what many discerning watchers refered to as a well crafted executive script, at that time, were only too farmiliar with the unfolding drama in this present Assembly and the stakes had been raised to acrimonious heights, with the anticipation of several dramatic judgement by the tribunals.
Matters were given a further spice when Erhiatake Ibori, daughter of former Delta Governor Chief James Ibori and first term legislator, sworn-in only in June this year, with arguably no legislative experience whatsoever, was handed the juicy portfolio of House Committee Chairman on Appropriation, a position held by former Governor Uduaghan loyalist, Hon. Daniel Mayuku.
However, all the calculations came crashing down, when the tribunal affirmed the victory of Rt. Hon. Monday Igbuya in the April 11, 2015, Delta Assembly elections and gave the embattled Speaker, who was at that time, embroiled in a gender whiplash, following his derogatory reference to ‘women with big arse’ in the war of words with Chief Paulinus Akpeki and other decampees to the All Progressives Congress, APC, a much unexpected victory, in the court of public opinion.
This providential ruling which, strategically was the first in a long list of PDP tribunal victories, strengthened the Igbuya political myth further and, according to inside sources, set in motion, a concerted agenda to unmask those behind the alleged plot to re-configure the Assembly leadership.
Sensing that the political wind has changed and nursing some real fears over the Delta governorship tribunal judgement, the prime sponsors of the alleged legislative putsch, quickly withdrew their tacit support and ensured that the legislators, with Igbuya still fully in charge, were treated with prompt and respectful attention, including the facilitation of the N750 million foreign trip training excursion to Atlanta, Georgia and the approval of some perks of office which would soon be delivered.
The suspension of Hon. (Princess) Pat Ajuduah and Hon. (Prince) Johnson Erijo, according to grapevine sources may therefore not be unconnected with the pre-tribunal judgement drama that played out in the Delta State House of Assembly with the full knowledge of the Executive arm of government in the end game.
It is also pertinent to point out that the major protagonists are some of the oldest and ranking members of the Delta State House of Assembly; Rt. Hon. Monday Igbuya (Speaker) and Hon. Tim Owhefere (Majority leader) on one side and Hon. Pat Ajuduah and Hon. Johnson Erijo, both of whom have been key House officers in the past.
While all parties are presently enjoying a much needed respite from the legal heat wave before the Appeal Court deliberations commence, the educated opinion in some discerning quarters is that the Delta Assembly is heavily pregnant with more plots and the three month suspension of the two ranking Delta legislators, may only be the first cut in what many anticipate will be a fairly long drawn confrontation between entrenched factions, where a few big heads will most certainly roll out of the House, by the time it is over.