Rt.Hon Kennedy Ibeh, Speaker of Imo state House of Assembly

Defection Saga:Why Imo Speaker, 16 Other Lawmakers May Be Sacked

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There are speculations that 17 members of the Imo State House of Assembly, including the Speaker and his Deputy are living on borrowed time as they may be sacked by the court for defecting from the political parties on which platform they contested and won election to the All Progressive Congress APC.

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The lawmakers who had at various times defected from the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Action Alliance AA, and the All Progressives Grand Alliance APGA, are said to be scared that by virtue of judgments of courts of competent jurisdiction which recently sacked the Ebonyi State governor, Dave Umahi and later, members of the Cross State house of assembly for the same purpose may be replicated in the case- which the PDP has also filed in court for the same purpose.

Commenting on the development, a university lecturer who pleaded anonymity said, “it is obvious that their days as members of the Imo state house of assembly are numbered as prayed by the PDP. “There is no way they can wriggle out of it, because the Certificate of Return issued to them by INEC is the only document that validates and gives credence to their membership of the house. It is also stated in the CoR that “this certificate of Return is today being issued to you and so of the Peoples Democratic Party. From the above statement, it means that having campaigned and won election based on the promises and manifesto of the PDP on whose platform he entered into a socio-political contract with the people who gave him their mandate, he is bound to remain there”.

“The day he defects to another political party, he invalidates the Certificate of Return and losses the all the rights, privileges and responsibilities attached to the certificate which by extension includes his membership of the house of assembly. The certificate said of the PDP and not of any other political party.”

Apparently prompted by the earlier judgment that sacked Gov Umahi of Ebonyi state and the court judgment which on Monday sacked 20 members of the Cross River state house of assembly who defected with the Governor, Ben Ayade from the PDP to the APC, a group known as the Legal Defence and Assistance Project had revived a suit they filed against the defection of 17 lawmakers of the Imo State House of Assembly.

Others who were elected under the AA who also dumped the party and joined the APC are Uju Onwudiwe, Ngozie Obiefule, Johnson Duru, Arthur Egwim, Obinna Okwara, Heclus Okoro and the current Speaker, Kennedy Ibe.

Those who dumped APGA, under whose platform they were elected to the state House of Assembly for PDP and later to APC are, Amara Iwuanyanwu, (Nwangele LGA) who is the current deputy speaker, Chidiebere Ogbunikpa (Okigwe LGA), Paul Emeziem (Onuimo LGA); Ekene Nnodim (Orsu LGA); and Onyemaechi Njoku (Ihitte/Uboma).

Those who dumped PDP for APC are the current Majority Leader, Kanayo Onyemaechi (Owerri West), former Majority Leader, Uche Oguagu( Ikeduru LGA), Eddy Obinna (Aboh Mbaise), Samuel Otibe (Ahiazu Mbaise).

At this time, no date has been fixed for the hearing of the case.

But many indigenes of the state have urged the group to ensure that they pursued the case to its logical conclusion.

The case was instiluted on behalf of the group by Chijioke Nwachukwu, Chibuzo Ekene, and Mmereole Modestus against the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Clerk of the Imo state house of assembly, the independent electoral commission (INEC), a former Speaker of the Imo State house of assembly, Chiji Collins and the current Deputy Speaker, Amarachi Iwuanyawu and 15 other lawmakers.

The plaintiffs, in the suit No: FHC/OW/27/2020 filed by their counsel, Nath Epele and Co, are asking the Federal High Court, Owerri to declare by seats of the defendants vacant by virtue of their defection from the party on which platform they were elected to another party.

Chji Collins, member representing Isiala Mbano state constituency had also abandoned his former party APGA on whose platform he won election to the house and joined the PDP which won the 2019 election to the house and joined the PDP which won the 2019 election in order to become the Speaker.

However,  shortly after the Supreme Court judgment of January 14, 202 which ousted governor Emeka Ihedioha and declared Hope Uzodinma of the APC, winner Chiji Collins along with other members of house with the exception of few moved to the APC.

It would be recalled that Ciji Collins and the they Majority Leader, Chigozie Nwaneri announced their defection on the floor of the house while others conveyed theirs via letters of defection.

A top politician in the state who identified himself as Chief Ikenna described it as a very welcome development that will sanitize horizon and serve as a dett-event to others who case was instiluted on behalf of the group by Chijioke Nwachukwu, Chibuzo Ekene, and Mmereole Modestus against the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Clerk of the Imo State house of assembly, the independent electoral commission (INEC), a former speaker of the Imo state house of assembly, Chiji Collins and the current Deputy Speaker, Amarachi Iwuanyawu and 15 other lawmakers.

The plaintiffs, in the suit No:FHC/OW/27/2020 filed by their counsel, Nath Epele and Co, are asking the federal High Court, Owerri to declare the seats of the defendants vacant by virtue of their defection from the party on which platform they were elected to another party.

Chiji Collins, member representing Isiala Mbano state constituency had also abandoned his former party APGA on whose platform he won election to the house and joined the PDP which won the 2019 election in order to become the Speaker who take delight in defecting from one political party to another for pecuniary benefits.

“If what has happened in Ebonyi and Cross River states will happen in Imo State that will be beautiful. Let the defected lawmakers from Imo State lose their seats so that it will serve as a deterrent to others.”

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