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AKHA CRISIS: More lawmakers join factional group

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The embattled Speaker of Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Hon. Onofiok Luke, seemed to have lost grip of the House as some members claimed to have been loyal to him, were closing ranks with Hon. Nse Ntuen’s faction, it was learnt. This, the press learnt was not unconnected with the poor handling of the defection of some members of the House from Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC) by the Speaker. The Press, however, gathered that the factional Speaker, Hon. Ntuen and five other lawmakers in his group yesterday met with some members of the House at a location in Uyo, the state capital. The Speaker, Onofiok had earlier in the week declared the seats of the five lawmakers vacant for defecting from PDP to APC, calling on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct fresh election into the seats. The meeting sources claimed lasted for over four hours with participants smiling and embracing one another after the parley. The source, who pleaded anonymity, said over eight lawmakers had joined Ntuen’s faction to effectively recover the Assembly from Onofiok and return legislative activities to the House latest next week. Shedding lights on what transpired at the late night meeting, the source disclosed that the meeting resolved that embattled Speaker’s action was subjudice and contemptuous, even as he stressed that his poor handling of defection issue had thrown the state into avoidable political tension. The source further said that the lawmakers bemoaned how the embattled Speaker allowed the governor to dictate how he runs the Assembly, which prompted the label, “mere rubber stamp Assembly” branded the House by the public, which is no longer acceptable to the members. Meanwhile, the source said the lawmakers that joined the five lawmakers, pledged to work together with Hon. Ntuen as the new Speaker of the Assembly. _Tony Anichebe._
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