Mass defection of lawmakers looms as Imo Assembly resumes Tuesday

Posted by Jude Aguguo Owuamanam, Owerri | 26 January 2020 | 1,299 times

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The Imo State House of Assembly may experience mass defection of its lawmakers from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) as they resume from one week break on Tuesday.

The House had at the last sitting adjourned for one week after nine lawmakers defected to the APC, following the resignation of its Deputy Speaker, Okey Onyekanma.

Our correspondent gathered that the one-week adjournment was to enable consultation and lobbying by the ruling party to enable it to consolidate its hold on the state assembly.

At the inauguration of the 9th Assembly, when former Governor Emeka Ihedioha held sway, the then ruling PDP had 13 members, the Acton Alliance (AA) had eight while the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) had six members.

But no sooner had the race to picking principal officer commenced that some of them defected to the PDP.

Among them was the Speaker, Collins Chiji, (Isiala Mbano state constituency), who defected from APGA to enable him clinch then position of Speaker, which was zoned to Okigwe.

Okey Onyekamma representing Mbaitoli State Constituency also clinched the Deputy Speaker in a very controversial circumstance as it was then contended by Uche Ogbuagu, representing Ikeduru state constituency.

At the exit of Ihedioha, following the Supreme Court verdict of January 14, PDP had about 16 lawmakers, Action Alliance seven members; APGA had two members while the All Progressives Congress (APC) had only one.

APC got the seat after the court annulled the election of an AA lawmaker, Lawman Duruji, and gave it to the APC challenger. The same scenario may likely be replicated with the change of baton.

Our correspondent gathered that in order to retain his position as Speaker, Chiji has no option but to find a comfortable landing in the ruling party.

APC is also seriously wooing the nine members from Owerri zone, who have higher bargaining power because of their perceived annoyance over the Supreme Court verdict that took away their candidate.

According to a source in the house, “The deputy speaker resigned because he saw an impending impeachment looming, while the speaker delayed his defection in order for APC to have a majority in the House.

“His fear was that he will be impeached if he defects and without the APC having a majority in the house. The one week adjournment was to allow all the necessary things to be done.”

This, according to the source, would have paved the way for other members from Okigwe zone to vie for the same position. As of now, other lawmakers from Mbaike (Mbaitoli/Ikeduru, especially Uche Ogbuagu, if he eventually moves to APC) are in strong contention to clinch the position of the deputy.

Ogbuagu, who spoke to our correspondent on phone, said that he was unjustly treated by the PDP, stressing that may be the time has come to right the wrongs. He, however, did not say if he would be changing party. (Daily Trust)

Source: News Express

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