Speaker Emeruwa Refuses To Swear-In Aba North Lawmaker-Elect Despite Court Of Appeal Ruling - Uju Ayalogu's Blog for News, Reviews, Articles and More

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Sunday 5 May 2024

Speaker Emeruwa Refuses To Swear-In Aba North Lawmaker-Elect Despite Court Of Appeal Ruling

Speaker Emeruwa Refuses To Swear-In Aba North Lawmaker-Elect Despite Court Of Appeal Ruling


Ten months after the inauguration of the Abia State House of Assembly, the Aba North State constituency has remained the only constituency in the state without a lawmaker in the 24-member legislature following the refusal of the speaker, Hon. Emmanuel Emeruwa, to swear-in the member-elect representing the constituency.

The lawmaker-elect for Aba North State Constituency, Hon Aaron Uzodike, was declared winner of the 2023 state House of Assembly election by the Appeal Court.

Uzodike told journalists in Umuahia at the weekend that the Speaker of Abia House, Emeruwa, has refused to allow him to take his oath of office and assume legislative duties because of “an order from above”.

He said his constituents were worried and confused about the apparent power play, which has been preventing them from having a voice in the Abia State House of Assembly since June 2023.

The Appeal Court sitting in Lagos had on November 27, 2023 resolved the disputed result of the March 18 State Assembly poll for Aba North in favour of Uzodike, who had contested on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

But the lawmaker-elect lamented that on two occasions when he was to be inaugurated, the Speaker failed to do so despite the fact that INEC had on December 13, 2023 complied with the Appeal Court order and issued him a certificate of return.

He said: “On the 14th of December 2023, I submitted all my documents to the Speaker, including a certificate of return, a certified true copy of the court judgment, and a letter from INEC affirming that a certificate of return was issued to me.

Uzodike said after filing his documents his inauguration was scheduled for January 18, 2024 but to his surprise “the Speaker told me that ‘I have an order from above’ not to inaugurate me.

The Deputy Speaker of Abia State House of Assembly, Hon Austin Meregini had in justifying the refusal of the Speaker to swear-in Uzodike, cited a suit filed by Hon Destiny Nwagwu at an Abia State High Court in Ukwa seeking to stop his rival from being inaugurated.

Nwagwu of the Labour Party (LP) was declared winner by INEC in the poll but had his victory voided by the Appeal Court, yet he refused to give up and went to a lower court to continue the legal battle for the Aba North State Constituency seat.

Uzodike faulted any move to rely on Nwagwu’s suit at the high court to ignore an Appeal Court judgement, saying that it was only on January 19, 2024 that his opponent filed the suit claiming that he was “investigating my certificate”.

But even after Nwagwu’s suit was dismissed on March 19, 2024 after four adjournments occasioned by non-appearance of the plaintiff, Uzodike noted that the Abia House Speaker has still not deemed it fit to permit his swearing-in.

“As of today, there is nothing pending in any court here in Abia, Nigeria, West Africa, and the whole world restraining the Speaker from inaugurating me.

“On April 16, 2024, I went to the House of Assembly and presented myself ready to start doing my work but the Speaker did not do the needful,” he said.

Sensing the high wire politics involved in his ordeal, Uzodike, who was a member of the Seventh Abia House, appealed to Governor Alex Otti “to direct the Speaker to inaugurate me without further delay.”

He said the state legislature should not be an arena for politics with elections long gone, adding that the interests of the people should be paramount.

The embattled lawmaker-elect made it clear that even with all the frustrations he wouldn’t go back to the court to ask for an enforcement order since the appellate court had done “what it should do.”

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Source: TheNigeriaLawyer

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