Factional speaker emerges in Rivers state house of assembly

A factional speaker Victor Oko-Jumbo, a member representing Bonny State Constituency has emerged at the Rivers House of Assembly, 24 hours after Governor Siminalayi Fubara declared that the state has no functional assembly.

Penpushing reports that spokesperson to Governor Chukwudi Nelson, announced the emergence of the factional number one lawmaker in the state, a development said to be creating confusion and deepening the political crisis in the oil-rich Rivers State.

The spokesperson in a statement on Wednesday signed by the factional speaker, and G. M. Gillis-West, said to be the clerk of the assembly, claimed that Oko-Jumbo emerged as speaker during plenary on Wednesday.

Penpushing further reports that the announcement of Oko-Jumbo as a factional speaker was being circulated by the Governor’s spokesperson, an indication that the factional speaker has the Governor’s endorsement.

The record has it that Rivers State legislature comprises of 32-member assembly, while one of them died shortly after the 2023 general elections, leaving 31 members, and out of this, 27 are loyalists of immediate past Governor of the state, Nyesom Wike, while four are loyal to the incumbent Governor

Penpushing also reports that Wike who now the minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT), was instrumental to the emergence of Fubara as Governor, but things have fallen apart between them a development that split the assembly into two factions.

The emerged factional speaker in his acceptance speech, thanked the members for electing him as the new leader of the assembly sequel to the resignation of the former factional speaker, Ehie, stressing that this was in line with Section 92(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (CFRN 1999) as Amended.

‘This is in line with Section 92(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (CFRN 1999) as Amended. You will agree with me that after the House last sat on the 13th of December, 2023, and adjourned sine dine, there has been an avalanche of legislative rascality perpetrated by the 25 former members of the 10th Rivers State House of Assembly, led by the former Speaker, Amaewhule’

Penpushing reports that Oko-Jumbo described the Wike-backed assembly as illegal and declared that actions taken by them were null and void, describing Martins Amaewhule as a former speaker of the assembly

“All laws, plenary sessions and actions taken by the illegal House members are hereby declared void and a nullity in the eyes of the law by the judgment of Lord Denning in the celebrated case of MacFoy v UAC (1961) 3 All ER 1169’.

“Lord Denning held in that case that you cannot put something on nothing and expect it to stand. Particularly, Lord Denning stated: ‘If an act is void, then it is in law a nullity. It is not only bad but incurably bad. There is no need for an order of court to set it aside’.

Penpushing further reports that Oko-Jumbo called on the executive arm, the judiciary and the general public to disregard every law enacted by the illegal assembly members, urging the Governor to desist forthwith from further dealings with the other faction of the assembly.

‘Those members are merely floating and do not have any landing ground or anywhere to berth their ship since their defection to the All Progressives Congress on the 11th of December, 2023’, the factional speaker declared

“It is automatically null and void without more ado, though it is sometimes more convenient to have the court declare it to be so. You cannot put something on nothing and expect it to stay there. It will collapse,” he added.

‘This House is the legally and constitutionally recognised House of Assembly by the defection of the other members and is ready to receive correspondences from and work with the Governor of Rivers State, Mr Fubara. Distinguished colleagues,” he said.

‘These former members, being fully aware of the provisions of Section 109(1)(g) of the CFRN 1999, defected from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Party (APC) on the 11th of December, 2023.

“Consequently, the Mr Ehie-led Assembly, on the 13th of December, 2023, wrote to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), declaring the seats of the 25 lawmakers vacant in line with Section 109(1)(g) and (2) of the CFRN 1999. My distinguished colleagues, there are a plethora of cases pending in our courts further to the defection of the former lawmakers’, he stated

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