By Benjamin Jimmy
Ini Local Government Legislative Council has debunked claims of the impeachment of the Chairman of the Council, Hon. Israel Idaisin and the Leader of the Legislative House, Hon. Ukpe Uma Ukpe, saying both officers are intact and still discharging their duties.
Recalled that on the 13th September, 2022, Hon. Udeme Okon George, Councillor representing Ukwok Ward 9 had laid claims that the duo of the Chairman of the Council, Hon. Israel Idaisin and the Leader of the House, Hon. Ukpe Ukpe had been impeached by the Councillors over what he termed “allegation of gross misconduct, misappropriation of funds, non-presentation of monthly income and expenditures of the Council, non-implementation of development projects and conducts likely to breach the peace in Ini Local Government Area”.
The purported impeachment notice which was published in a local tabloid, Prime Voice, of Monday, 19th September, 2022 with the heading: “ Ini Council Chairman, Leader impeached”, however came as a shock to the Chairman and people of Ini Local Government Area, reports said.
This action, according to our news sources, was orchestrated to mislead the public and present a false impression about the Chairman and the Leader of the Council.
The publication in the tabloid was also accompanied with an unsigned letter which circulated on the social media addressed to the Speaker, Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly (AKHA), Hon. Aniekan Bassey, through the Clerk of the House.
However, in a letter issued on 14th September, 2022, and signed by the Clerk of Ini Legislative House, Pastor Emmanuel David Udoh and Sgt. at Arm, Mr. Victor Benjamin Akpan, it stated that what Hon. Udeme George, the originator of the purported impeachment news on social media called an impeachment was rather a mere commotion and disruption of proceedings during sitting caused by himself and two others of his group.
“Today 13th September, 2022 at the Council Chamber, while the Legislative sitting was on, presided over by the Leader, Hon. Ukpe Umah Ukpe, some Councilors caused commotion and disrupted proceedings”.
According to the Clerk of the House and Sgt. at Arm who narrated what transpired, the business of the House had started after the Leader of the House had led in a prayer and declared the sitting opened.
“The Sgt at Arm, Mr. Victor Benjamin Akpan ushered in the Leader, who prayed and declared the meeting opened”.
While Hon. Odudu Prince Offiong, Councillor representing Ikpe Ward 2 was raising issues of communal clashes involving Ibiono Ewuro, Ikpe Ikot Nkon and Ikot Ukpong Ikpe, Hon. Victoria Monday Udo, Councillor representing Ikono North 3, Ward 2 was said to have stood up and announced that she had impeached the Chairman and the House Leader, an action the letter said runs contrary to laid down impeachment procedures.
The Crest further gathered that following Hon. Victoria Udo’s impeachment announcement was another announcement from Hon. Anietie Akpan Udo, representing Ikono North 3, Ward 8 who declared that he had also impeached the House Leader.
“A report came from the Legislator from Ikpe Ward 2, Hon. Odudu Prince Offiong, who raised the issue of communal clashes between Ibiono Ewuro, Ikpe Ikot Nkon and Ikot Ukpong Ikpe.
“While that was on, Hon. Victoria Monday Udo, (Ikpe 3 Ward 11) said she has impeached the Chairman. Hon. Anietie Akpan Udo of Ikono North III, Ward 8 said he has impeached the Leader.
“ Hon. Udeme Okon George took away the Mace and all the Councillors ran after him. There was commotion and pandemonium”.
It was gathered that the actions of the two Councillors threw the House into pandemonium and in the heat of the confusion, the letter stated, Hon. Udeme George who appeared to be the leader of the disruptive force made away with the Mace, resulting in a chase from other Councillors.
Our investigation revealed that the two Councillors who moved motions of impeachment neither had their motions seconded, nor did they state reasons on the floor of House for their actions, a situation many said their purported impeachment was a mere display of a legislative ignorance.
The Crest further gathered that the Councillors never at any point written to either the Chairman or the House Leader expressing their dissatisfaction over any of the issues their letter of purported impeachment had raised.
Some analysts in the area who condemned the action, described the purported impeachment move as ridiculous, wondering how Councillors could humiliate themselves by not knowing the appropriate procedures required to impeach sitting officers.
They however advised that rather than heat up the polity, the aggrieved legislators should follow the path of dialogue in demanding for accountability and whatever issues they are displeased with.
According to information, Ini Local Government Area has two zones: Ini and Odoro Ikono.
Indigenes of the area who bared their minds on the development called on the Councillors to sheath their sword, as any attempt to remove the Chairman, an Odoro Ikono person, might create a political imbalance and as well spark off crisis in the area.