By Sam Oditah
The Abia House of Assembly on Thursday, elected a new Speaker, Mr Kennedy Njoku, representing Osisioma-Ngwa North Constituency.
Njoku’s election followed the removal of a former Speaker Chief Martins Azubuike, representing Isialangwa North Constituency.
The Deputy Speaker of the House, Dr Cosmos Ndukwe, who presided over the plenary, said that 20 out of 24 members signed the impeachment notice against Azubuike.
During the election conducted by the Clerk of the House, Mr John-Pedro Irokansi, Njoku, polled 17 votes to defeat Chief Chikwendu
Kalu, representing Isialangwa South Constituency, who polled three votes.
The Deputy Leader of the House, Chief Solomon Akpulonu, representing Obingwa East Constituency, who moved the motion for Azubuike’s removal, gave reasons for the action.
Akpulonu said that Azubuike “failed to ensure equitable distribution of positions and powers among members,” adding that he was
“insensitive to the rights and needs of members and general staff of the assembly.”
He further said that “his autocratic practice has brought the assembly on collision course with other arms of government and agencies of the state government.
“He has abused the office of the Speaker by using same for personal and private political interest.
“Therefore, pursuant to Section 92 (2c) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended. We, the members of the House, resolved to remove and hereby removed Martins Azubuike as Speaker,” Akpulonu said.
In his acceptance speech after his swearing in, the new speaker thanked members for the confidence reposed in him.
Njoku gave assurance that the House under his leadership would make laws for the good governance of the state.
He said that the task ahead of the House was challenging adding that he appreciated the circumstances surrounding his emergence.
In a brief interview with newsmen, Njoku also promised to give every member a sense of belonging and avoid ‘’the banana peels’’ that swept off his predecessor.
Akpulonu told newsmen that all efforts made to persuade Azubuike to change his autocratic leadership style failed, hence the decision to remove him from office.
Effort made by newsmen to get Azubuike’s reaction on his removal was unsuccessful as he was said to have left shortly before they arrived at his official lodge on Okpara Avenue, Umuahia.