Oko-Jumbo Emerges New Speaker, Rivers State House of Assembly

The Rivers State House of Assembly has at its sitting held on Wednesday, May 8, 2024 elected Rt. Hon. Victor Oko-Jumbo representing Bonny State Constituency as the new speaker.

The House further declared all actions taken by the members of the factional Assembly led by Hon. Martin Amaewhule as void and a nullity in the eyes of the law and further called on Gov. Siminalayi Fubara to stop dealing with the former lawmakers who lost their seat following their defection.

While addressing the house the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Oko-Jumbo said his emergence was in pursuant to the resignation of Rt. Hon. Edison Ogerenya Ehie and in line with section 92(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended.

He thanked his colleagues for the confidence reposed in him assuring that he will continue to work with them to move the state forward.

The Speaker noted that after the House last sat on December 13, 2023 and adjourned sine dine, there has been an avalanche of legislative rascality perpetrated by the 25 former members of the 10th Rivers State House of Assembly, led by the former Speaker, Rt. Hon. Martin Chike Amaewhule.

Rt. Hon. Oko-Jumbo emphasised that the former members were aware of the provisions of section 109(1)(g) of the CFRN 1999, and following their defection from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC) on December 11, 2023, Rt. Hon. Edison Ogerenye Ehie who then became the Speaker on December 13, 2023 wrote to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), declaring the seats of the 25 lawmakers vacant in line with section 109(1)(g) and (2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, stressing that there are numerous pending cases in the courts over the defection of the former lawmakers.

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He therefore stated that, “All laws, plenary sessions and actions taken by the illegal House are hereby declared void and a nullity in the eyes of the law by virtue of the judgment of Lord Denning in the celebrated case of MacFoy v UAC (1961) 3 All ER 1169, which held that “you cannot put something on nothing and expect it to stand.”

Oko-Jumbo quoted further, “If an act is void, then it is in law a nullity. It is not only bad, but incurably bad. There is no need for an order of court to set it aside. It is automatically null and void without more ado, though it is sometimes more convenient to have the court declare it to be so. And every proceeding which is founded on it is also bad and incurably bad. You cannot put something on nothing and expect it to stay there. It will collapse.”

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The Speaker directed the Executive arm, the Judiciary and general public to disregard every law purportedly enacted by the illegal Assembly as they all amount to nothing but an exercise in futility.

“Furthermore, this House would want to most respectfully urge and call on His Excellency, the Governor of Rivers State, Sir Siminilayi Fubara, to stop dealing with the 25 former lawmakers, in whatever guise.”

“Those members are merely floating and do not have any landing ground or anywhere to berth their ship since their defection to the All Progressive Congress on the 11th of December, 2023. This House is the legally and Constitutionally recognised House by virtue of the defection, and is ready to receive correspondences from and work with His Excellency.”

He assured of the house unalloyed and unwavering support to work with Governor Siminalayi Fubara in moving Rivers State forward and in promoting the progress and welfare of the State.

Addressing newsmen after the sitting which held at 10:00am, the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Victor Oko-Jumbo called on all Rivers people to join and support the government of Sir Siminalayi Fubara as the house is ready to give its best for the service of the state

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On his part the Chairman of the Business Committee of the House, Hon. Sokari Goodboy, assured of the house commitment to the advancement of the state and are ready to support the speaker. He urged Governor Siminalayi Fubara not to have anything to do with the former members of the house in order not to attract the wrath of the house.

Also in a twist, the Assembly Sergeant-at-arms, Mr. David Wariboko whom Martin Amaewhule-led factional Assembly allegedly suspended was seen performing his duties with the Assembly under Rt. Hon. Victor Oko-Jumbo.