Asaba — AMID confusion, the sitting of the Delta State House of
Assembly did not hold again, yesterday, after three adjournments, but
members held a caucus meeting behind closed doors for hours.
Sources from the meeting held at the office of the Acting Speaker,
Mr. Basil Ganagana, told Vanguard that “there is pressure from above to
swear in the former Speaker, Mr. Martin Okonta, by tomorrow (today).”
But the confusion is that the present occupier of Ika South Constituency, which Okonta is reclaiming, Mr. Kingsley Philips, is insisting that he was not unseated via the
recent Supreme Court judgment since there was no declaratory order to
swear in Okonta.
Philips had already filed a motion before the Federal High Court,
Asaba, seeking an order of injunction, restraining the former Speaker
of the House, Mr. Okonta and five others from interfering or in any way,
impeding the performance of his functions as a member of the state
He had also written a letter to the State Attorney-General through his counsel, Mr. Ikhide Ehighelua, for intervention.
According to the letter, “the Supreme Court gave a judgment striking
out but refused to dismiss the suit initiated by our client as
requested by Okonta on the grounds of non-joinder at the trial court,
the Federal High Court.
“In spite of the fact that Okonta prayed the Supreme Court to ask our
client to be withdrawn from the Delta State House of Assembly, his
request was rejected. By that suit, our client claims the right to be
and remain as member of Delta State House of Assembly, representing Ika
“Following that judgment, our client has gone ahead to file a suit
again before the Federal High Court, between Mr. Philips vs INEC and
others with Mr. Okonta now as a defendant.
In these circumstances, we ask that the right thing be done by not
interfering with his rights as member representing Ika South
Constituency in the state Assembly until the suit is determined one way
or the other by a court of competent jurisdiction,” the letter added.
Meanwhile, there is tension, as sources close to the former Speaker
Okonta said that he is warming up to present himself for swearing today,
when the House is expected to resume sitting after three adjournments.
He had earlier told Vanguard, that going by the Supreme Court judgment, he had won back his seat.