By Ikeugonna Eleke and Abuchi Onwumelu
The 7th Anambra State House of Assembly was last Wednesday inaugurated in the presence of a large crowd of supporters of the members of the assembly and top party and Anambra State government officials, with Hon Uche Okafor, member representing Ayamelum in Anambra North Senatorial Zone, emerging the new Speaker.
The clerk of the house, Mr Pius Udoh, who performed the inauguration ceremony for the 30-man assembly, charged the members to work for the unity and development of the state.
The inauguration ended months of horse-trading among the elected members who were angling for positions in the house.
Hon. Uche Okafor, the new speaker, is from the same Northern Senatorial Zone as the Governor of the state, Chief Willie Obiano. Hon Paschal Agbodike was announced as the Deputy Speaker.
Okafor, a two time member of the House, was announced unopposed after he was nominated by Hon Edward Igbuzor and seconded by Lawrence Ezeudu as a lone nominee.
Hon. Pachal Agbodike of Ihiala II State Constituency who was initially touted to emerge as Speaker, being from Anambra South, also emerged unopposed as Deputy Speaker.
While the Anambra State Governor hails from Anambra North Senatorial Zone, his deputy, Nkem Okeke, is from the Central Zone. Fides learnt that it was hoped that the speaker would have hailed from the Southern Zone to ensure equity in power sharing.
A source however said the House settled for a speaker from Anambra North since the state governor favoured the Southern Zone to produce the next governor. The thinking, it was gathered, was that if the Speaker was elected from the South, it would end up having a Governor and a Speaker when it eventually produced a governor in 2022.
Though there were protests from some lone voices, a better number of people believed that the calculation was right, so long as the promise of a governor from Anambra South was met.
Other principal officers of the Anambra State House of Assembly who emerged during the inauguration of the assembly included; Nnamdi Okafor, Majority Leader; Lawrence Ezeudu, Chief Whip; Beverly Ikpeazu, Deputy Chief whip and Onyebuchi Offor, Minority Leader.
Others are Minority Whip, Somtoochukwu Udeze; Deputy Minority Whip; Douglas Egbuna, among others.
Carrying out his first assignment, the new Speaker, Rt Hon Uche Okafor, pledged to work harmoniously with other arms of government, while praising Governor Willie Obiano for his fatherly role in the state. He promised to carry along all members of the house.