By Chinonso Alozie
The battle between Governor Rochas Okorocha and his deputy, Eze Madumere, is far from over as the fight for supremacy has now moved to the legislative grounds.
Of recent, the show of political weight has shifted to the Imo state House of Assembly, a House of 27 lawmakers; with only three female lawmakers.
Following the development, the house appears to be at a boiling point as the battle has now pitched loyalists of the two men. Remarkably the deputy is also enjoying the support of the Allied forces.
The political gimmick between the two major actors became more pronounced when the loyalists to Okorocha suspended four lawmakers believed to be staunch loyalists of Madumere.
The four lawmakers were Mr. Ifeanyi Nnatataonye, Mbaitoli, Madumere’s local government. Chiji Collince, Isiala Mbano, from Senator Ifeanyi Araraume’s camp. Others were Nkenna Nzeruo, Oru East, Uche Oguwuike, Ikeduru.
Most people were of the view that having suspended some of Madumere’s proponents in the House, that the alleged impeachment move would be perfected. While some said that one of the reasons for their suspension was that they did not join Okorocha’s camp during the All Progressives Congress, APC, convention in Abuja penultimate weekend.
Others were of the view that the affected lawmakers were allegedly suspended was they were seen as spies and therefore became a clog in the wheel of Okorocha’s men in the House of Assembly.
A close source to the suspended lawmakers, said that they refused to join other lawmakers to adopt Okorocha’s son-in-law, Mr Uche Nwosu, to be the next governor of the state in 2019.
The suspended lawmakers have alleged that no reason was given by the House for their suspension at the time that they were suspended. They were told that their suspension was based on “un-parliamentary conduct.”
They argued that in the parliamentary procedures that reasons for the suspension of any lawmaker would have be outlined which would be followed with a committee to investigate whatever allegation. It also alleged that there was more to what had happened on that day, as there were insinuations that the suspension was part of a plan to impeach the deputy governor.
The impeachment plot has so far derailed because some of the legislators were still pretending to be with Okorocha, but in the real sense are not. A source told Vanguard that among the 27 lawmakers, there is no evidence that Okorocha controls a good number of the lawmakers.
The calculation by some political analysts, was that if Okorocha boosts of a good number of confidants in the House of Assembly, he would have succeeded.
He said: “You see what is facing the 27 lawmakers is the issue of how protect their political future. It is about doing the right thing. Some of them want to do anything and go.
“Some of them who have another one term would not want to jeopardize their chances of coming back.
“While you are hearing this issue of impeachment of the deputy governor, was that some of them felt that they had arrived after the APC, convention in Abuja. And that Okorocha would give them automatic ticket.
“You know this politics, before the Abuja convention some of them had joined the APC coalition formed by Madumere and Araraume. They felt that the Congress held in the state, favoured this group. But you can see that they have turned back again. Let us watch and see what will happen.
Provoked by the procedure taken which led to the suspension of the four lawmakers, a lawyer, Mr Frank Ugboma, has gone to the Federal high court Owerri, to ask for the enforcement of the fundamental rights of the suspended lawmakers.
Ugboma, who approached the court to press for the enforcement of the fundamental rights of Dr. Uche Oguwuike, Nkenna Nzeruo, Collins Chiji and Ifeanyi Nnataraonye, also raised some questions for the court to answer.
“The plaintiffs had in the suit, registered as FHC/OW/CS/87/2018, contended that they were not informed of the reason or reasons for their purported suspension and were not given fair hearing in accordance with the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“The plaintiffs also prayed the court to hold that the action of the defendants not only contravened the constitution, but also offends the spirit of one of the twin pillars of justice known as “audi altarem partem.” It is an issue that is bound to fester for some time.