- by E. Nriezedi
- 1:06 PM May 18, 2022
There is some panic in Imo State that 17 out of the 27 lawmakers of the state House of Assembly may be sacked by the court.
At various times since 2019, the lawmakers in question defected to the All Progressives Congress from the Peoples Democratic Party, Action Alliance and the All Progressives Grand Alliance, respectively.
The fear is due to the recent sacking of the Governor of Ebonyi State, Dave Umahi, and 17 lawmakers who defected with him from the PDP, on which ticket they were elected, to the APC.
A court judgement on Monday also sacked 20 members of the Cross River State House of Assembly who defected with the Governor of the State, Ben Ayade, from the PDP to the APC.
Motivated by the development, a group of persons had dusted up a suit they filed against the defection of the 17 lawmakers at the Imo State House of Assembly.
The case was instituted by the Legal Defence and Assistance Project, Chijioke Nwachukwu, Chibuzo Ekene, and Mmerole Modestus against the State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Clerk of the Imo State House of Assembly, the Independent National Electoral Commission, Attorney General of the Federation, a former speaker of the state House of Assembly, Collins Chiji, and the current Deputy Speaker, Amarachi Iwuanyanwu, and 15 other lawmakers.
In the suit No. FHC/Ow/27/2020 filed by their counsel, Nath Epele and Co., the plaintiffs are asking the Federal High Court, sitting in Owerri to declare the seats of the defendants vacant by virtue of the fact that they defected from the party that brought them to power into another party.
Former Speaker, Collins Chiji, representing Isiala Mbano, had abandoned his former party, the All Progressives Grand Alliance, under whose platform he got to the House and declared for PDP, which won the 2019 governorship election in order to grab the speakership.
However few days after the January 14, 2020, Supreme Court judgment, which sacked Emeka Ihedioha and declared Hope Uzodimma of APC as governor, Chiji, along with other members, moved to the APC to retain his position.
Chiji and majority leader, Chigozie Nwaneri, announced their defection on the floor of the House, while others wrote letters of defection.
Others who were elected under the AA 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.
A resident of Owerri who identified himself as John Madu said “This development is commendable. If it will be achieved it will regulate our political space. The lawmakers are only interested in defecting from one political party to another for their own vested interests.
“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.”