Law News
I’m still Rivers speaker, Owaji-Ibani insists

THE Speaker, Rivers State House of Assembly, Mr. Ikuinyi Owaji-Ibani, said on Monday that he remained the speaker of the legislature despite Monday’s court ruling that nullified his election and that of 19 other lawmakers.

Owaji-Ibani maintained that neither him nor his fellow lawmakers had been sacked based on the judgment delivered by the Rivers State Election Petitions Tribunal.

He explained that though the tribunal had made its decision, he had filed an appeal against the ruling, adding that he and other lawmakers, whose elections were nullified, were still members of the House.

The Speaker maintained that he and the State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, were freely elected by Rivers people during the last general election.

“All I want to say is that ‘I, Ikuinyi Owaji-Ibani, have appealed against the judgment of the lower court and that if it comes to Andoni where I come, I know my people and my people know me.

“Going by the several judgments given by the different panels at the Rivers State Election Petitions Tribunal, I would say that the Rt. Hon. Ikuinyi Owaji-Ibani, the Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, was not sacked by any election petition tribunal.

“What happened was that a tribunal gave a ruling in its opinion against my election that of 19 other members of the legislature and none of the members were also sacked by the tribunal.

“I’m still the Speaker, Rivers State House of Assembly and the other members are still members of the Rivers State House of Assembly,” Owaji-Ibani stressed.

Expressing his faith in the judiciary, the speaker described the judiciary as the foundation of every good society.

He pointed that a former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Professor Attahiru Jega, had adjudged the election in Rivers free and fair.

“In the circumstance, I do not believe that the judiciary as one of the key institutions of the state can subsume itself and allow personal interests to override its very essence, the essence of having the judiciary in the polity to make sure that everyone is equal before the law,” Owaji-Ibani stated.

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