The crisis rocking the Bayelsa State House of Assembly (BYHA) has taken a new twist as two parallel speakers emerged within the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
Bayelsa state assembly is made up of 24 members. Trouble started when the incumbent speaker called the house to order about 10:00am on Monday, and adjourned proceedings indefinitely before thugs suspected to be his supporters carted away the mace, a symbol of authority in the assembly.
We gathered that Tonye Isenah had been under intense pressure to resign his position to give way for a new leadership or face impeachment.
The embattled speaker Hon. Tonye Isenah, had on Friday afternoon, hinted on his resignation, claiming it was due to pressure mounted on him by some People’s Democratic Party (PDP) leaders to quit his position ahead of the November 16th governorship election. (grapevine said the pressure was coming from the Governor Seriake Dickson)
It was alleged that, some suspected supporters of Isenah stormed the assembly shortly after proceedings were adjourned, fired warning shots into the air, throwing the whole chamber into a state of confusion before fleeing the legislative chamber with the mace.
Shortly after security personnel deployed to the assembly brought the situation under control, journalists were ordered out of the chamber, as the Deputy Speaker, Hon. Abraham Ingobere, took over proceedings in the absence of the speaker who left with some members of the house.
A motion of impeachment of the speaker was raised by the member representing Sagbama Constituency 2, Hon. Bernard Kenebai, under matter of urgent public importance and was seconded by Hon. Naomi Benjamin Ogoli, a member representing Ogbia Constituency 3.
The petitioner, Hon. Kenebai, alleged that the embattled speaker, Isenah, committed offences ranging from gross misconduct to derogation of duty, and should, therefore, be impeached in accordance to the rules of the house.
After hearing the motion of impeachment against the speaker, the house with the approval of the acting speaker, Hon. Ingobere, unanimously agreed and declared that Hon. Isenah is impeached and no longer the speaker of the state assembly.
Thereafter, a motion to nominate Hon. Monday Obolo to immediately take over from Hon. Isenah was also raised by Hon. Ofoji Ogboko representing Yenagoa Constituency 1, which was seconded by Hon. Naomi Benjamin Ogoli representing Ogbia Constituency 3.
In his acceptance speech, Hon. Obolo appreciated the members of the house for finding him worthy, assuring them that he will follow the guidelines of the house in order to deliver the dividends of democracy to the people of the state.
He said, “I want to appreciate you from the bottom of my heart for this extraordinary favor to an ordinary citizen, for you to have found me worthy at this time of our democracy in the state assembly of Bayelsa.”
Rt. Hon. Tonye Isenah, reacting to the development, said that “I did not go to the House as an impeached Speaker or the one that resigned. I adjourned Sine Die. Anything done without my reconvening the house is illegal. The House is an institution and a different arm of government that should be respected.”
“That House has been adjourned and any member who participated in that illegality called impeachment. Even the Sargent-At-Arms escorted me out and no one can reconvene the house.”
He denied being part of the reported gun battle heard within the State Assembly complex and also denied being part of any agreement with PDP leaders to resign as Speaker after the Party’s Governorship primaries.