Imo montage of crises, intrigues, surprises
By George Onyejiuwa, Owerri
The IMO 8th House of State Assembly chaired by the Hon. Acho Ihim was anything but honorable as lawmakers handed a blank check to the then governor, now Senator Elthelbert Anayo Okorocha, to do whatever he wants with the state republic. Next, the leadership and members of the Assembly approved any requests made by Okorocha, including the adoption of the governor’s son-in-law, Uche Nwosu, as the sole candidate for governor of the All Progressives Congress (APC) ahead of the general election. of 2019. Some of the lawmakers who opposed this decision were summarily suspended for “unparliamentary” conduct.
At the end of the 8th Assembly immediately after the 2019 general election, members of the House of Assembly impeached President Ihim (who represented Okigwe and AA member) and was Mr. Uche Nwosu’s running mate in that election. . Lawmakers proceeded to elect new President Lawman Duruji (Ehime Mbano and AA member), but he was forced to resign within 72 hours, which led to the emergence of Hon.Chinedu Offor (Onu-Imo, AA). Offor became the last president, reigning for two weeks, in this inglorious 8th Assembly.
The Imo people heaved a sigh of relief at the end of the 8th Assembly and was eagerly awaiting the 9th Assembly with new members, especially when the majority of 8th Assembly lawmakers lost their candidacy for re-election.
In 2019, Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) won governor polls, with the PDP also winning 14 majority seats in the state assembly. The Action Alliance won eight seats and the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) five seats while All The Congress of Progressives (CPA) did not win any seats.
In accordance with the zoning arrangement, the position of the President of the State Assembly remained in the Okigwe area. (Me North), and apparently to increase his chances of becoming president, Chiji Collins (Isiala Mbano) who had won his re-election on the APGA platform after being denied a return ticket by the Alliance of action is passed to the People’s Democratic Party before the official inauguration of the Chamber by the administration of then Governor Ihedioha. Ditto for the other legislators elected on the APGA platform. This was, however, with the exception of the Action Alliance members of the House.
PERSONAL SURVIVAL POLICY
Corn following the unexpected impeachment of Ihedioha as state governor via the Supreme Court judgment of January 14, 2020 and his replacement by Senator Hope Uzodimma of the All Progressives Congress, the Hon. Chiji Collins in a desperate attempt to retain his seat as President and other members of the House, including the PDP and now AA lawmakers surrendered to the APC and pledged their loyalty even before Senator Uzodimma was sworn in as governor.
Those who had crossed with the president were Arthur Egwim (Ideato North, AA), Amara Iwuanyanwu (Nwangele) and the current vice president, who was originally elected under the APGA but joined the PDP, then the APC and Chidiebere Ogbunikpa (Okigwe).
Others who left the ship immediately after Ihedioha’s withdrawal as governor there was also Obinna Okwara (Nkwerre) from AA to APC; Paul Emeziem (Okigwe) from APGA to APC; Uche Ogbuagu (Ikeduru) from PDP to APC (and was appointed majority leader); Johnson Duru (Ideato Sud) from AA to APC; Ngozi Obiefule (Ideato Nord) AA to APC; and Sycruse Okoro (Ohaji / Egbema) from AA to APC.
But six members of the House of Assembly elected on the PDP platform refused to quit the party. They are Nwosu Anyadike (Ezinihitte Mbaise) who became the leader of the minority, Okey Onyekanma (Mbaitoli) who resigned as vice president, Frank Ugboma (Oguta), Philip Ejiogu (Owerri North) and Solomon Anukam (Owerri Municipal).
Unfortunately, the expectations by the Imo people to have true representatives were wiped out as the the current 9th State Assembly also presented the same features of the 7th and 8th Assemblies whose main objective remained free enslavement to the governor of the day and self-aggrandizement, leaving their constituents dry.
For example, on October 28, 2021, nine members of the IMO National Assembly held a meeting at the private residence of former President Paul Emeziem or they approved the request of Governor Uzodimma To reorganized / supplemented the 2021 budget with the sum of N 31,909,038,590 for the year ending December 31, 2021.
In this same meeting, the Assembly also moved forward to approve the request of Governor Uzodimma get a grant from the Central Bank of Nigeria from N18 746 589 992.70 through the United Bank for Africa (UBA) to fund infrastructure development, as well as to cushion the effect of federal government deductions on state loans.
Also last year, the 9th State Assembly shattered all known legislative exploits by passing the 2021 budget within 24 hours of being received by the governor.
In addition, governor candidates for office were dismissed illico without any selection, just as lawmakers also abandoned their oversight duties over the activities of state government ministries, agencies and parastatals.
Currently, as in the days of tabling of this report, all standing committees of the House were dissolved by the former president, the Hon. Emeziem.
Obviously, lawmakers are primarily concerned with their welfare and, therefore, are ready to do whatever the governor wants. Thus, most of the bills passed by the 9th State Assembly were executive bills.
Surprisingly, the 9th State Assembly produced three presidents in less than two years. The first was Chiji Collins (Isiala Mbano) who was elected on June 13, 2020 and sacked on November 13, 2020 under the guise of allegations of embezzlement and falsification of certificates. It was concluded that the root of his impeachment allegedly led by the Vice President, Amara Iwuanyanwu, who had established himself as the main intermediary of power due to its proximity to Governor Uzodimma, bordered on the welfare and alleged non-compliance with their “secret gentleman” agreement.
In reality, Chiji Collins would have been accused of do not spread government largesse From house to deputy just as he was accused of having built three houses simultaneously in Owerri. In fact, Collins was said to have been at the site of one of his buildings when he learned of his impeachment as president.
IMPEACHMENT AND COUNTER-IMPEACHMENT
Then came Paul Emeziem who was appointed president on November 22, 2020 with the approval of Governor Uzodimma. Under the presidency of Emeziem, the State Assembly has totally lost a minimum of independence.
Vice President Amara Iwuanyanwu took full responsibility for the House and failed MPs complying with the House agenda of unhesitatingly approving every request by the governor, which management views as unparliamentary conduct if denied, risked indefinite suspension.
And some of the members who allegedly crossed the line were quickly suspended on July 8, 2021 by President Emeziem. They are Kennedy Ibeh (Obowo, APC), Anyadike Nwosu (Ezinihitte Mbano, PDP), Philip Ejiogu (Owerri North, PDP), Uche Ogbuagu (Ikeduru, APC), Dominic Ezerioha (APC, Oru West) and Michael Onyemaechi Njoku (Ihitte Uboma, APC).
However, on November 2, 2021 in the plenary of the Chamber, the six deputies suspended since July 8 for alleged unparliamentary behavior were revoked.
But 18 deputies had already signed a secret resolution for the deposition of the vice-president, Amara Iwuanyanwu, whom the President had accepted.
However, Iwuanyanwu, who is the de facto head of the House, was removed from his post. Former President Emeziem, it has been learned, left the post vacant while waiting for the governor who was absent in Abuja to replace him with his choice.
But it shouldn’t be like Amara Iwuanyanwu who was desperate to keep his allegedly high post informed Governor Uzodimma of the underground opposition PDP plot, using the ex-Speaker to remove him from office. Part of the allegations was that the former president distributed N10 million each to members of the Assembly.
However, six days later, precisely on November 8, there was a realignment of forces as the governor reportedly sanctioned Emeziem’s immediate dismissal as president.
Thus, on Monday morning of November 8, nine members of the House led by the “deposed” Vice-President, Amara Iwuanyanwu, moved into the Ojukwu Center, which served as a temporary assembly chamber to meet.
Monday’s meeting which lasted less than 30 minutes was chaired by Amara Iwuanyanwu who chaired the session and subsequently they proceeded to elect Kennedy Ibeh (APC) from the Obbowo State constituency as the third Speaker of the 9th Chamber of the State Assembly in less than two years.
The deposed President Emeziem who rushed to the center of Ojukwu when he heard about the meeting was locked out because he was refused entry to the compound, which served as the temporary compound of the House of Assembly.
It was understood that the state government ordered the deposed President Emeziem to leave his official residence as well as to hand over his official vehicle, a PRADO SUV, while Governor Uzodimma decided to make “peace” between the belligerent members of the Assembly.
During this time, most observers have described the 9th Chamber of the National Assembly as a house of straw that has made its independence to the executive branch of government as the so-called legislators are even afraid to claim their constitutional rights.
Chief Soronnadi Njoku, former majority leader in the 4th House of the State Assembly and Attorney General Emeritus of Imo State, said in a recent interview with this reporter: “I lost my respect for this current House as they passed the law Bill 2021 within 24 hours. No serious Assembly does this.
Also, Dr Harold Wilson Onumo, chairman of the board of the Imo Youth Assembly, described the current National Assembly as an embarrassment to the people of Imo.
With curiosity, members of the State Assembly appeared to be subject to a code of silence as they did not respond to inquiries from journalists wishing to obtain clarification on the activities and state of the Assembly.
When our reporter contacted the leader of the minority, Anyadike Nwosu (PDP, Ezinihitte Mbaise) to ask him if the question of members’ allowances which was at the center of the crisis was resolved following the election of a new president, he simply refused, saying he was not the House spokesperson.
Also, Johnson Duru, who is the chairman of the House Committee on Information, refused to take calls made on his cell phone, nor did he return the calls.