Imo State House of Assembly is now divided over the impeachment of Hon Chiji Collins, who represents Isiala Mbano State Constituency.
Though 19 out of 27 members of the 9th Imo Assembly had gathered at their temporary chamber and passed a vote of no confidence on the impeached speaker, who was said to have been locked out before the impeachment, relaxed some of the rules of the House in order to validate the speakership position of Hon Paul Emeziem, who is a first timer, thereby fuelling rancour from the minority.
Emeziem’s emergence ran contrary to the standing rule that prevents a first timer from being the speaker of the House. Most members were said to have given preference to the member for Obowo State Constituency, Hon Kennedy Ibe, who is a second timer, but his alleged romance with former Governor Rochas Okorocha, was said to have been his nemesis
The impeachment was presided over by the Deputy Speaker of the 9th Imo Assembly, Hon Amarachi Iwuanyanwu, who represents Nwangele State Constituency.
The sources maintained that some members, Hon Uche Ogbuagu, Majority Leader and member for Ikeduru State Constituency, breezed in and left immediately, Philip Ejiogu, Minority Leader, member for Ezinihitte Mbaise, Hon Heclus Okoro, member for Ohaji/Egbema among others were not present when the impeachment hammer dangled on the former speaker.
Whereas, Hon Ngozi Obiefule, (Isu), Hon Arthur Egwim (Ideato South), Hon Uju Onwudiwe (Njaba), Hon Ekene Nnodumele (Orsu), Hon Chidiebere Ogunikpa (Okigwe), Hon Emeka Nduka (Ehime Mbano) among others carried out the impeachment.
It was gathered that the former speaker was impeached over alleged financial recklessness, incompetence, lack of cooperation, coordination and sportsmanship and that his actions caused Hon Paschal Okolie to defect to PDP, as well as many members who have concluded plans to defect to opposition party before the end of the year.
Our correspondent further gathered that some supporters of Chiji were not fully in support of his impeachment, as they were not in the chamber when the impeachment was executed.
The detention of Hon Heclus Okoro in the police cell allegedly ordered by the Governor Hope Uzodimma has raised dust that all is not well in the Imo Assembly, an action that has been exacerbated by the impeachment and subsequent defection of some APC members to PDP.
Also, the sources have it that the impeachment of the former speaker was not unconnected with his secret romance with Senator Ifeanyi Araraume over Okigwe Senate by-election, of which Chiji is the campaign council chairman of Frank Ibezim, who is challenging Chiji’s political god father.
The sources further said that the defeat of Ibezim in the Federal High Court by Araraume sparked the impeachment of Chiji, who is allegedly seen as an ally to Araraume.
Speaking while the new speaker was presented to him at the Government House, Owerri, Uzodimma described such development as a norm in democracy, recalling that the 5th Nigerian senate changed guards up to five times before end of the tenure.
“So we must continue to search for quality and brilliant leadership that will help us grow our democracy. Consequently, I want to charge members of the house to imbibe the spirit of sportsmanship.
“There is nothing worth taking lives. The moment your colleagues are able to express discontent, you have a duty to address their concern and flow with them”.
Earlier, some members of the house, including Emeka Nnodimele who moved motion for the impeachment of Chiji Collins had informed the governor that they were at the government house to present the new speaker to him.
They enumerated the sins of the impeached speaker to include; incompetence, high-handedness, financial misappropriation, embezzlement of funds, inability to manage crisis in the house, creating factions in the house, among others and expressed joy that his horrible leadership came to an end by the impeachment.
By Jennifer John
and Ikenna Orioha