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Political Crisis in Rivers State Deepens as Factional Speaker Elected

The political crisis in Rivers State escalated as lawmakers loyal to Governor Siminalayi Fubara elected Hon. Victor Oko Jumbo as a factional Speaker. Jumbo’s election comes barely 48 hours after Governor Fubara declared that the majority of the 27 members of the House, who defected from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC), as non-existent.

According to Sahara Reporters, the opposition APC has also instructed its members in the House Assembly, who are now in the majority, to impeach the governor.  Jumbo’s emergence marks the third Speaker under Fubara’s administration.

Oko-Jumbo, who is considered to be loyal to embattled Governor Siminalayi Fubara, was elected on Wednesday by Fubara-aligned lawmakers in Port Harcourt.
Oko-Jumbo’s debut coincides with an ongoing power battle between Fubara and former governor Nyesom Wike, who is currently Minister of the Federal Capital Territory. The conflict has resulted in an attempt to remove Fubara after 27 members of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) defected to the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) and declared their seats empty.

Oko-Jumbo declared in his acceptance speech that his election was conducted by Section 92(1) of the Federal Republic of Nigeria Constitution.He accused the 25 former members, led by previous Speaker Martin Chike Amaewhule, of “legislative rascality” for defecting from the PDP to the APC on December 11, 2023.

Oko-Jumbo claimed that the Rt. Hon. Edison Ogerenye Ehie-led Assembly correctly declared their seats vacant under Sections 109(1)(g) and (2) of the constitution.
Oko-Jumbo stressed that all laws, plenary sessions, and activities made by “illegal House members” are “void and a nullity” under the precedent established in MacFoy v UAC.

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