The Abia State House of Assembly on Wednesday suspended its Minority Leader, Abraham Oba.
This followed a news conference he and 10 members of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in the House addressed disassociating themselves from the N30 billion loan approved for the State Government on July 21.
Mr. Oba had explained that they withdrew their support for the facility “because members were deceived by the Speaker, Martins Azubuike, to support the decision.”
Mr. Oba said the legislators were made to understand that the facility was a fresh loan, hence their decision to support it.
He said their decision to opt out of the deal was taken after Governor Okezie Ikpeazu’s Economic Adviser, Obinna Oriaku, said the House “misconstrued” the loan to be a fresh facility.
Mr. Oriaku had said in an interview that the loan was needed to cancel old debt incurred by the immediate past administration and not a fresh loan.
The suspension of Mr. Oba followed a motion by Solomon Akpulonu, (Obingwa East) and seconded by Chukwudi Apugo, (Umuahia East).
Mr. Akpulonu said Oba contravened the House rule by addressing a news conference.
He said Mr. Oba was not the spokesman of the House and was not granted the permission to speak against a matter already decided by the House.
After the suspension, APGA members in the House re-grouped and elected Ikedi Ezekwesiri (Umunneochi), as Minority Leader.
Meanwhile, the APGA Chairman in Abia, Augustine Ehiemere, described the suspension as undemocratic and an abuse of power by the House.
“The minority leader was just expressing his views,’’ he said.
Mr. Ehiemere said members of opposition parties anywhere in the world enjoyed the freedom of criticising policies and actions of the ruling party at any given time.
He wondered why Mr. Oba should be punished for exercising his fundamental right.
He said the party would meet to discuss and take a position on the suspension.
“The suspension is unacceptable to the party,” Mr. Ehiemere said.
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