…Assembly still under Police siege
MAURICE OKAFOR, Enugu.
The move to impeach Enugu state Governor, Sullivan Chime has stalled legislative duties in the state House of Assembly as the Police have continued with its siege at the Assembly, despite the court order for them to allow the Speaker Eugene Odoh-led Assembly access to perform their duties. With less than 10 days to the end of the present political dispensation, Mr. Chime and the Speaker Odoh are still locked in the battle for impeachment. The two top government officials in the state who had enjoyed good and harmonious relationship in the past seven years are now at daggers drawn over the threats of impeachment dangling over the heads of the duo.

The Hallmark checks in Enugu revealed that it is near impossible for Speaker Odoh and his G15 loyal legislators to impeach Governor Chime before the May 29 hand over date to the new governor-elect, Hon Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi. Neither will it be constitutionally possible also for the group of nine legislators loyal to Chime, who have since elected Chinedu Nwamba, representing Nsukka East constituency as their factional Speaker, to perform the functions and role of Enugu state Assembly Speaker, in the remaining days of the state Assembly.

A pointer to this development emerged yesterday as the Federal High Court sitting in Enugu adjourned hearing on the suit brought before it by Odoh and his group, to give them access to the state House of
Assembly for continuation of the legislative duties till Tuesday, May 26, 2015 barely three days to the hand over to the new governor elect, Ugwuanyi.

The denial of access to the Speaker Odoh and the Group 15 to the state Assembly since a fortnight ago, even when Justice Dorcas V. Agishi of the Enugu Federal High Court gave an order that the police should permit the Speaker and his group the freedom to continue using the state Assembly for their legislative duties, based on petition brought before it by the group has not being complied to.

Hallmark observed that up to the time of filling this report, the gates to the Enugu state House of Assembly has remained under lock and key, with policemen from the Enugu state police command rendering 24 hour surveillance within and outside the premises of the Assembly.

This has made it impossible for any of the two factions of the state Assembly to gain entrance into the premises for legislative duties either in support or against Chime.

The implication of this development lies on the fact that both Speaker Odoh and Hon Nwamba group are presently handicapped and paralysed in leading further legislative activities in the Enugu state House of Assembly. Political analysts hold the view that the next court session to hold on Tuesday, May 26, 2015 is not likely to make any difference.

Even if the judge makes further pronouncements in favour of Odoh’s group, both the police and the state government under Chime are not likely to comply with the court order. Therefore, the state House of Assembly is likely to remain closed and non functional till the exit of Chime next week.

Hallmark checks revealed that just like the Federal High Court sitting in Enugu has not been able to settle the Chime and Odoh scuffle, a socio-cultural association in the state, Enugu state Development Association, ESDA, is not likely to make any meaningful impact in settling the differences before Chime vacates office as governor.

ESDA, which is presently under the leadership of a reputable lawyer, Chief Enechi Onyia [SAN] at its meeting held on Thursday, May 16, 2015 at Universal Hotel, Enugu reached a decision to send a 12-man peace delegation to both Chime and Odoh, Including the governor-elect, with a view to resolving the face-off between them in the interest of peace in the state.

The delegation is being headed by Chief Abel Nwobodo, the immediate past ENSIEC chairman and presently a community leader in Nkanu axis of the state. But the Hallmark gathered from sources that they have not been able to get across to Chime. Hence, the possibility of hearing and getting to the root cause of the crisis, before proffering solutions is likely to be an unaccomplished mission before the end of the tenure.

The Hallmark recalled that the initial peace and reconciliatory moves championed by the Governor-elect, Ugwuanyi, hit the rocks following the recognition by the state party leadership under Chief Ikeje Asogwa of the Nwamba led group of eight legislators. In the same vein, Chime was reported to have hosted the Nwamba group to a reception in the state governor’s lodge a fortnight ago.