Unlike governor Wike who according to the electoral act and the constitution has 21 days to appeal the judgement of the tribunal against him, within which he still remained the governor of Rivers State. It is however not so with 20 members of the state house of Assembly.
The laws in Nigeria at the moment does NOT guarantee members of State Assemblies the 21 days appeal window within which they can remain in office.
I have taken the pains to look through our laws, but could not find any clause that gives the Speaker of the Rivers State house of Assembly or any member of a state legislature whose election has been voided by a tribunal a place in office pending their appeal.
Following the nullification of the elections of 20 members out of the 32 member Rivers state house of Assembly including that of the Speaker, I make bold to say at this point, that there is NO RIVERS STATE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY since 11 out of 32 members CAN NOT FORM A QUORUM for sitting as required by law.
Without mincing words, it is important to inform Rivers people that there can’t be any Speaker, nor any member of the Rivers State house of Assembly until all pending appeals have been dispensed of following the Nullifies of their elections. This I know for sure may be sometimes in December or thereabout.
Therefore it is absolutely wrong for Hon Ikunyi Ibani Owaji former Speaker of the Rivers state Assembly to still claim he and his Sacked colleagues are still in office.
With this development, the doors of the Hallowed Chamber of the Rivers State house of Assembly will remain closed pending the final outcome of all the apex appeal processes.
There will be No law making, no loan approvals, no appropriation Bills, no oversight functions etc at least for the next few months. Any attempt to subvert the law for any selfish political reasons, it should be viewed as an affront against the survival of our nascent democracy.
This is Rivers State as we SPEAK!!!
Stephen Leemene Deegbara
Writes from Port Harcourt.