Okafor Ofiebor/Port Harcourt
Shortly after Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers state declared open the 8th Assembly the 32 lawmakers of the state unanimously elected Ikunyi Igbani representing Andoni constituency and Marshall Uwom of Abual Odual constituency as Deputy Speaker.
The election of Igbani as Speaker, confirmed the earlier speculation in political circles that Prince Uche Secondus, the acting National Chairman of Peoples Democratic Party,PDP, had pushed through his choice against Evans Bipi, the candidate of Mrs Patience Jonathan.
Marshall Uwom was former Commissioner for Lands under Governor Chibuike Amaechi’s administration.
Evans Bipi representing Ogu/Bolo constituency was the leader of the five lawmakers anti-Amaechi lawmakers who attempted to impeach former Speaker, Otelemaba Dan Amachree in the 7th Assembly.
For about two years, Mrs Jonathan had been addressing her aide, Evans Bipi, as ‘Speaker’ in public gatherings after the botched impeachment attempt on former Governor Chibuike Amaechi on July 9, 2013, giving the impression the Bipi would be compensated with the position of Speaker in the 8th Assembly.
However, against public expectation Ikunyi Igbani was the only nominee for the position of Speaker and was unanimously voted without rancour by the 32 members. The House has only one member of All Progressive Congress, Josiah Orlu of Eleme Constituency.
Earlier, Governor Wike had charged the state lawmakers to conduct the affairs within the confines of the law.
It would be recalled that Rivers State Assembly has been under lock since July 9, 2013.
The reopening of the House of Assembly and the High Court complex same day had a telling effect on the traffic on Moscow road, Port Harcourt/Aba road, Forces Avenue as enthusiastic PDP supporters and members of the public thronged to the Assembly and Courts in jubilant mood.
The Police command and other security agencies had a Herculean task controlling the traffic that nevertheless became a gridlock.