The Akwa Ibom State Chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) have said they “will not accept the political rascality of the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Onofiok Luke, whom they described as “former speaker of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly”.
At a press briefing held on Wednesday 22nd of November, 2018, the Party rejected the leadership of Barr Luke and maintained the APC lawmakers’ decision to elect a new speaker for the legislature in the person of Hon Nse Ntuen; the member representing Essien Udim State Constituency.
Reading the text of the briefing, the State Chairman of the Party, Mr Ini Okopido posited that Luke being a lawyer and leader of the legislature should have led by example in obeying the law.
He noted that apart from ‘hastily’ declaring vacant the seat of the member, Itu State Constituency, Hon Idongesit Ituen, after the latter had been served the notice of appeal and stay of execution, he also declared vacant the seats of other lawmakers whose cases were yet undecided by the Court.
Members whose seats were declared vacant by the Speaker include Hon. Gabriel Tobby (Etim Ekpo/Ika), Hon. Victor Udofia (Ikono), Hon. Otobong Ndem (Mkpat Enin), and Hon. Nse Ntuen (Essien Udim).
“Onofiok Luke’s action amounts to Contempt of Court as the members who defected had obtained a court injunction against declaring their seats vacant”, he insisted.
“The APC as a law-abiding party totally condemns the actions of the former speaker in its entirety in taking the law into his hands and embarking on absolute illegalities and acting as god by declaring vacant the seats of members whose matters were still pending in the courts and who had existing court orders restraining him from such purported declarations”.
“The APC in Akwa Ibom State cannot and will not accept the act of impunity and political rascality displayed by the former speaker in declaring the five seats of our members in the Assembly vacant”.
“His disobedience to extant orders of the court is most contemptuous and despicable of a chief lawmaker who had sworn to respect and protect the laws of the land”.
“You will all recall that the first person to decamp in the current Assembly was the member representing Urueoffong/Oruko State Constituency, Hon. Asuquo Archibong who won election to the State House of Assembly on the platform of the APC”.
“The Speaker did not declare his seat vacant at the time he decamped from his party for no just cause. Even when Mr. Speaker purported to do a blanket declaration of all members that decamped from parties that sponsored their elections, he carefully avoided touching the seat of the member representing Urueoffong/Oruko, simply because he decamped to his party, the PDP”.
It would be recalled that Hon Asukwo Archibong had since December 2017 left the APC to join the PDP and was celebrated by PDP lawmakers led by Barr. Onofiok Luke who had presented him to Governor Udom Emmanuel and the party at large.
Platinum NG learnt that the lawmaker was later compensated by the PDP government with the promise of an automatic second term ticket. Archibong is currently the flag bearer of the PDP to represent Urue Offong/Oruko State Constituency in next year’s election.
Meanwhile, the Federal High Court yesterday granted a stay of execution against its earlier ruling that Idongesit Ituen was no more recognized by law as a member of the House.