As the tremors of an open letter to the Speaker of the Cross River State House of Assembly, John Gaul Lebo, written by critic and social commentator, Ifere Paul, continue to be felt, an aide of the Speaker has hit back with a reply, stating that Ifere Paul is “… in a mental asylum.
Azogor Ideba, Chief Press Secretary to Lebo, wrote: “Thanks very much for remembering to wish the Speaker of Cross River State House of Assembly a happy birthday. On behalf of his media team, I thank you.
Having taken a few minutes to read through your usual mental dry run about events in Cross River State, it has become necessary to reply as follows:
1. It is obvious that your persistent mental asylum has truly become a sabbatical, since we don’t know how long it will take you to revert to reality; we will patiently continue to pray for your quick recovery.
2. Your Open letter to the Speaker of the Cross River State House of Assembly raised just three arguable issues:
i. The Speaker’s inability to investigate the arrest of Frank Ayade.
ii. Illegal sale of land.
iii. Contract scandal in State Universal Basic Education Board.
3. It is often the case with political contractors and mentally challenged Analyst like you to expect that, the office of Speaker is a spiritual entity possessed with the powers to reorder nature without constitutional or statutory coordinates.
4. Permit me to briefly afford you a “moment of Lucid Interval” and draw your attention to the following facts:
(a) The House of Assembly is established under Section 90 of the Constitution
(b) The Office the Speaker is a constitutional creation under Section 92 of the Constitution.
(c) The power of the House of Assembly is provided under Section 100 of the Constitution.
The Speaker is first of all, a member of the House of Assembly, first among equals and the presiding officer of the House of Assembly as provided for under Section 95 of the Constitution.
The Speaker does not exercise any special powers beyond the powers of the House of Assembly as provided for under Section 100 of the Constitution; and it is the power of the entire members of the house. This is why the speaker cannot sit without a quorum and cannot raise any issue suo motu.
The powers of the House of Assembly are to make Laws for the good governance of the state and carry out relevant oversight responsibility.
5. The power of the House of Assembly to conduct Investigations is also provided under Section 128 of the Constitution, and the powers of the Assembly thereto is with respect to matters which it has powers to make Laws and relates to anyone charged the duty of responsibility.
6. Unlike the EFCC, the powers of the House of Assembly to investigate fiscal issues is provided under Section 125 of the Constitution, which confer extensive powers on the Public Accounts Committee of the House of Assembly to consider public Accounts statement submitted by the Auditor General of the state to the House of Assembly at end of every fiscal year. And ‘Accounts’ here refer to audited statement of accounts of MDA’S and public officers.
7. By the provisions of Section 101 of the Constitution, the House of Assembly has powers to regulate its own procedures by rules of the House. And under the House rules of the Cross River State House of Assembly, every allegation that requires investigation must be presented through petitions or motions addressed to the House of Assembly.
8. Under the Constitution, there is NO relationship between the House of Assembly and the EFCC, as the report of the public accounts is legally referred to the Attorney General of the state for prosecution or recovery through the State Revenue Court.
9. We are amused at your lawless imagination that the Speaker of the House of Assembly doubles as a mysterious monk ordained with magical powers of crime investigation, financial Crime Agent, prosecutor and the judiciary; Where is your coordinate of elementary subject of Government?
10. It is very shocking and unfortunately regrettable that you used certain words like “disgusting, failure and disgrace” on social media to address the Speaker. Obviously, you urgently require a mental fumigation of your mind-set and the contrived sense of “suicide intelligence” often exhibited by you.
11. Hon Elocate Ekom’s seat was declared vacant in accordance with Section 109 (1) (g) which provides that:
“…A member of the house of ASSEMBLY shall vacate his seat if (g) Being a person whose election to the House of Assembly was sponsored by a political party, he becomes a member of another political party before the expiration of the period for which that house was elected. ..”
12. Interestingly, you are a member of the ruling APC and one of its social media activists, but, I assume that you are speaking for yourself here. However, I can understand that you are personally trying to recover from an intellectual recession and humongous serial deficit of value orientation, coupled with an appalling lack of public manners.
We pray the Almighty God to grant you a period of moral epiphany and a recovery space to return from your asylum.”
Chief Press Secretary,
Office of the Speaker, Cross River State House of Assembly
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