Cross River Assembly Speaker, Elvert Ayambem impeached

17 out of 25 lawmakers of the Cross River State House of Assembly have impeached the Speaker, Elvert Ayambem today Wednesday.

The impeachment follows a vote of no confidence on the flood of the Assembly.

Effiong Ekarika representing Calabar South 1 moved the motion, and this was supported by Omang Omang of Bekwara state constituency.

The 17 had earlier signed a petition against the Speaker. They include Hilary Bissong, Egbe Abeng, Effiong Ekarika, Martin’s Achadu, Pius Ashakia, Ova Agbor, and Victor Nsa.

Others who signed the impeachment include Francia Ogban, Bassey Effiong, Eyo Bassey, Thomas Aruku, Charles Omang Omang, Stanley Nsemo, Kingsley Ntui, Okon Owuna, Samuel Neji and Cyril James.

The lawmakers cited four grounds on which they decided to impeach the speaker.

These include gross financial misconduct, incompetence, noncompliance with legislative laws, and failure to convene leadership meetings as the grounds for his removal.

On impropriety, the lawmakers accused him of inability to account for N48 million meant for electricity bills and over N404 million from the Internal Revenue Service designated for oversight functions.

They also alleged that the Assembly leadership has not been able to account for N20 million from local government deductions.

Those who impeached him also alleged incompetence and wrong conduct of plenary proceedings.

They further accused him of appointing members to move or second motions, rather than following the democratic practice of allowing members to volunteer.

According to the angry legislators, Ayambem did not comply with legislative laws.

They said he also violated the Cross River State Legislature Funds Management Law of 2021 by his arbitrary approval of expenditures beyond his authorized limit and the refusal to inaugurate the Legislative Funds Management Committee.

The fourth and final ground of his impeachment is the total failure to convene leadership meetings, with only one such meeting held in the past 11 months.

“This lack of engagement has been perceived as a neglect of duty and a failure to foster collaborative governance within the House.”

The opposing lawmakers displayed documents from the Internal Revenue Service and photographs of a luxurious house under construction allegedly funded by embezzled funds, saying these further tainted the reputation of the former Speaker.

In the last few months, Ayambem led the vanguard to attack, probe and ridicule former governor, Prof Ben Ayade over his style of governance, alleged diversions of state resources and concessions of factories he built for himself and cronies.

He also recovered State properties, vehicles, and tractors which he alleged were stolen by Ayade and his officials.

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