(Opinion) The Macabre Dance of Politics in Abia 8th Assembly ~ By Izuchukwu Nwokoma

A popular saying which has become so true in our day-to-day activity and in the political sphere – is “a house divided against itself cannot stand”. This maxim from all indications has become apt and should constantly be sounded to the ears of members of the newly inaugurated 8th Abia State House of Assembly who at the moment, seem to be at variance or loggerheads over principal officers and standing order 8 and rule 42 respectively.

Many, especially those who attended the inauguration of the House on June 14th, 2023, would have believed that the event of that day which crept in during the nomination of the Deputy Speaker should long have been resolved while legislative business begins in full gear but unfortunately, the issue of majority/minority, standing order cum rules in the 8th Assembly have continued to be a matter that has thrown the newly inaugurated house into turmoil.

It is pertinent to point out here that history, is sine qua non in guiding our thoughts and actions. A people without knowledge of how things work or worked around their immediate environment in time past, will be bereft of ideas especially when confronted with a serious puzzle such as the issue of who, among the four different political parties in the current Abia House of Assembly should provide the majority leader among others.

Many may argue that the PDP has no locus standi to demand that they are allowed to take the slot of the majority seat since on the day of inauguration, it was alleged that certain amount of money exchanged hands, and PDP members in the Assembly, willfully conceded the Speakership and Deputy Speaker position to the Labour Party despite having greater number.

Others on the other hand, may argue that since they conceded the leadership of the House to Labour Party, it will be wise to compensate the PDP members in the House with the position of the majority leader.

While the arguments rage, the newly inaugurated Abia House of Assembly should go down memory lane, research about previous Assemblies and how they faired after inauguration ranging from the one under the helm of Rt. Hon. Aruwa Arunsi, Rt Hon. Stanley Ohajuruka, Rt. Hon. Christopher Ewerenmadu, Rt. Hon. Agwu U. Agwu, Rt. Hon. Udo Uko Chukwu, Rt. Hon. Martins Azubuike, Rt. Hon. Kennedy Njoku (One day in Office), Rt. Hon. Chikwendu Kanu and Rt. Hon. Engr. Chinedum Orji.

At least the House and the Lawmakers maintained good working relationship for months before skirmishes ensued under the leadership of previous Assemblies. But it is improper that a House that has not lasted a month after it’s inauguration will be having squabbles that have left many wondering if the current Abia 8th Assembly would surpass records by previous Assemblies.

Even as we acknowledge the fact that this is the first time members of the House are drawn from four different political parties vis-a-vis: People’s Democratic Party 11 members, Labour Party, 10 members, Young Progressives Party, 2 members and the All Progressives Congress 1 member, the Assembly leadership should learn to tolerate one another’s nuances, after all they are serving Abians and not there to showcase which party should have upper hand.

Members of the current Assembly cannot continue to ridicule Abia and her people through their flexing of muscles as this will portray them as being insensitive to the plights of their constituents who made overbearing sacrifices to ensure their emergence and representation.

There is no disputing the fact that the Judiciary is the final arbiter and provides the needed answers in times of turmoil and legal interpretation and in the present circumstance where the Interpretation of Standing Order 8, Rule 42 which states that the majority leader shall be selected from amongst the members of the party that has the majority members in the House of Assembly has continued to pose a problem, it is therefore imperative for the Lawmakers to seek interpretation in a court of competent jurisdiction than this macabre dance that they are engaging for the public to grade dance steps.

It will be wise to also remind the Lawmakers, that history will not be kind to them, if they allow this controversy over majority/minority, standing order and rules continue unabated. They have huge responsibility to play in terms of coming up with legislations that will further improve the fortunes of the State. But if they continue with this dance, it will indeed be long before they realise that their actions have destroyed and hampered the legislative inputs they ought to have made as a brand new Assembly.

Izuchuckwu Nwokoma is a Journalist and Public Affairs Analyst.

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