by Dare Lawal
Early this week, the Niger state house of assembly passed a confidence vote on their governor, Babaginda Aliyu. They said they stood with him on his recent position concerning the propriety or otherwise, of President Jonathan running for re-election in 2015. Gov. Aliyu does not think the president should.
Now, the Rivers assembly has borrowed a leaf from their Niger counterparts. 26 out of the 36 members in the assembly on Thursday, passed a confidence vote on the governor, Chibuike Amaechi,
In the words of the majority leader, Chidi Lloyd, who presented the motion, the confidence vote has become imperative “following the perceived recent antagonism targeted at the governor.”
Lawmaker after lawmaker agreed, affirming that the governor had done well in steering the ship of governance and development of the state. They said the confidence vote would serve to encourage the governor to do more, as well as challenge the attempts to malign him.
However, it wasn’t all smooth sailing for Amaechi. Lawmakers sympathetic to a minister in the federal cabinet, Nyesom Wike, argued that a confidence vote was unnecessary as the governor was only performing his duties. Wike, who is the minister of education, used to be a key ally of the governor as his former chief of staff. But recent developments in the state show that Wike has lined himself in the pro Aso Rock camp.
Leading the argument against the confidence vote in the assembly, was Hon. Michael Okechukwu Chinda (Obio/Akpor II). Chinda asked his colleagues if what the governor was doing for the state wasn’t part of his duties as enshrined in the constitution.
“This motion ought not to come to this hallowed chambers because the governor has only performed his duties,” he said.
But the House speaker, Rt. Hon. Otelemaba Dan Amachree, was having none of that as he refused to allow other opponents to the motion to speak. Several moves by Hon Chike Michael Amaewhule to speak was futile, even after he called the House to Order 38, Rule 1.
Attempts by Amachree to quell the lawmaker, who had already perceived that he would not be allowed to speak, were unsuccessful as Amaewhule insisted that both sides of arguments must be heard. The Speaker then called out for the Sergeant-at-Arms to come and arrest Amaewhule, who later calmed down.
The motion was then put to a vote, with 26 of 36 members supporting, while three abstained.
The motion urged Rivers people to condemn the recent attacks on the person of the governor and his office, while commending the governor for his continued resolve to bring good governance to Rivers people.
The House also voted in favour of a special session to be held with the governor to enable the Assembly convey the confidence vote and commend him over his leadership of the state.