Long before the suspension of Rt. Hon. Acho Ihim as Speaker of Imo State 8th House of Assembly, it was speculated that the aim was to get at Governor Rochas Okorocha, as the ultimate target of lawmakers’ rumbling. Now that Acho Ihim has been taken out of the way, and Okorocha pioneer Deputy Chief of Staff and later Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Hon. Chinedu Offor, is the Acting Speaker, the stage is presently set for the impeachment of Governor Okorocha should the governor not trade with caution as is alleged that opposition leaders are fast infiltrating the rank and files of the lawmakers.
Earlier, in a bid to pacify the restive members of Imo State House of Assembly and dissuade them from removing the Speaker, Acho Ihim albiet in order to save his own collaborative neck, Rochas Okorocha allegedly shared “discriminately”, the sum of N22 million to each of the compliant lawmakers, promising to give them the balance of N50 million which he had earlier promised each member.
Recalling how Okorocha and Acho Ihim coerced them into approving the sum of N100 billion tagged as “Authority to Incur Expenditure (AIE)”, the members especially those who were deliberately schemed out in the sharing of the N22 million greek gift to each of the compromised lawmakers, then confronted Governor Okorocha to explain why they were not considered.
He drew their attention to the directive of PDP which wrote to EFCC, asking the banks not to honour any cheques from the outgoing Governor, all of which he claimed had stalled government businesses.
Not ones to be deceived for the up teemth time, the aggrieved lawmakers and other benefactors of Rochas’ largess stormed out of government house and went straight to the chambers of the House of Assembly suspending the Speaker.
Meanwhile, Hon. Chinedu Offor, a former close confidant and aide of Owelle Rochas Okorocha for four years, before he contested and won election into the Imo State House of Assembly for Onuimo State Constituency in 2015, and who is now the Acting Speaker, has been talking tough and has so far directed Okorocha and Acho Ihim to refund the sum of One Hundred Billion Naira (N100 billion) only which they deceptively and clandestinely coerced members of the House to approve for them as, “Authority to Incur Expenditure (AIE)”, and which fund they frittered away in the early day of the 8th Assembly.
Offor who was a former BBC correspondent in Nigeria, has been following events and developments in Imo state ever since 2011, when he was co-opted into “the team Rochas Okorocha”.
At the next sitting of Imo State House of Assembly under Rt. Hon. Speaker, Chinedu Offor, expected to hold yesterday, the lawmakers appeared divided on the decision to impeach Acho Ihim and elect a substansive speaker.
While majority rooted for Lawman Duruji,Hon Kennedy Ibe,Hon Ikechukwu Amuka differed.They had met earlier to elect the speaker but did not come to agreement owing to refusal of the duo of Amuka and Ibe to accept Duruji as consensus candidate.
“However,Hon. Chika Madumere of Nkwerre constituency was unanimously elected deputy speaker to take over from Hon Ugonna Ozuruigbo who only last week resigned his position as deputy speaker of the 8th Assembly”,our source revealed.