GIST OF THE DAY: The Chaos In Rivers State Must Stop

The nation and the world at large got a shocker
on Tuesday, 9th July 2013 when the simmering
crisis in the state’s chapter of the People’s
Democratic Party (PDP) and the Rivers State
House of Assembly resulted in a free-for-all in
the House chamber.
Members of the Assembly were seen attacking
one another with dangerous objects which left
some of them seriously injured and hospitalised.
The faction of five members of the House
opposed to Governor Chibuike Amaechi, threw
caution to the winds and assembled early that
day and announced they had impeached the
Speaker, Hon Otelemabala Amachree. In his
place, Hon Evans Bipi presented himself as the
new Speaker.
The Constitution of the Federal Republic of
Nigeria 1999 stipulates that for the
impeachment of any elected official to be valid,
not less than two-thirds of the members of the
House must vote in its favour. This clearly did
not happen.
The most regrettable part of it was that the
Police, having been intimated of the possibility
of trouble, drafted scores of their men to the
And yet, it did not stop the grievous assault on
members from taking place. The Police simply
watched while the law was being broken with
impunity. In fact, some uniformed officers were
seen helping to perpetrate evil as reminiscent of
the horrific scenes seen on NTA in 2003
following the Governor Chris Ngige kidnap saga
in Anambra State.
We are at a loss how people described in many
media reports as “thugs” were able to find their
ways into the Assembly grounds and even the
public gallery when security men reportedly
screened people getting into the arena.
One would have thought that with crisis
forewarned, strict steps would be taken by the
law enforcement agencies to keep out non-
members and to arrest anyone who abandoned
their legitimate duties as legislators and opted
to foment trouble.
We condemn what happened in Rivers State last
Tuesday in the strongest terms. This was a day
that decorum was thrown to the winds, while the
monster of lawlessness reigned supreme. It
smacks of political madness for a handful of five
legislators to purport to impeach a Speaker in
total contravention of the constitution.
We must find a way to severely sanction
politicians and public office holders who
perpetrate such constitutional iniquities.
Otherwise, our democracy will continue to be
mired in political backwardness. Perhaps, it is
time for us to consider the long suggested
establishment of constitution courts to deal with
matters such as these.
We commend the House of Representatives for
quickly intervening and taking over the
legislative functions of the House until tempers
cool and members come back to their senses.
The House and the Senate should conduct a
joint inquiry into the roles played by the law
enforcement agents, particularly the Police, on
that day. Those who failed in their assigned
duties to enforce the law must be made to face
the music.
The crisis in Rivers State is beginning to acquire
a more dangerous turn, with the supporters of
both sides now confronting each other in the
We are living witnesses to the horrors the nation
went through as a result of the activities of
political thugs and cult groups who later became
militants and went into the creeks to disrupt the
peace and economic wellbeing of the country.
The nation has paid dearly to pacify and
stabilise the Niger Delta. We must not allow
ugly recent history to repeat itself. The political
combatants must sheathe their swords and allow
the people of the state to live peacefully with
one another.
There is no substitute to politics without

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