AKWA Ibom State House of Assembly has lost four members so far while the fifth person is hanging only on hope and prayers.
Those sent parking so far are the former Speaker, Anieakn Uko, the former Deputy Speaker, Effiong Okon Bassey, the erstwhile member representing Ikot Ekpene/Obot Akara State Constituency, Idongesit Ntekpere and the erstwhile member representing Etinan state constituency, Aniefiok Dennis.
The member representing Uyo State Constituency, Monday Eyo, would have to battle it out in 29 polling units, which the Court of Appeal declared invalid. As such, he still remains a member of the House till after the half re-run, while the other four had since ceased to exist as honourable members.
Akwa Ibom State has 26 members out of which only one person representing Urue Offong /Uruko state constituency, Asuquo Archibong, is of the APC while the rest are PDP members. The scenario has been like that since 2003.
But with the nullification of elections of four persons, the APC may increase its stake in the House, thus qualifying it to have a minority leader, a position which almost tore the House apart some years ago where the House had only one opposition member who claimed minority leadership but was brushed aside by the leadership of the House on the premise that one person cannot lead himself.
Though it was earlier speculated that the former deputy speaker, Effiong Bassey, representing Oron/Udung Uko State constituency, was sacked outright from the House to be replaced by his APC challenger, the spokesman of the House, Ime Okon explained that it was a case of a rerun like the other three.
“The court cannot give you what you never asked for. All the petitioners wanted a rerun claiming that the elections were substantially flawed. So, it is a case of complete cancellation just like the three others. But the member for Uyo will re-contest election only in 29 polling units in his local government,” Okon said.
This is, however, the first time that election of any member in the state House of Assembly has been invalidated by the court; and political watchers had already gone to town to assert that many of those sacked would never come back to the House.