Deputy Speaker resigns As reactions continue on Supreme Court verdict
By Chinonso Alozie
As reactions continued to trail the judgment of the Supreme Court on Imo gubernatorial election, nine lawmakers of Imo State House of Assembly, yesterday, defected to All Progressives Congress, APC, to join the government of Senator Hope Uzodinma, increasing the number of APC lawmakers to 10.
Deputy Speaker of the House, Okey Onyekanma of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, also resigned his position as the deputy speaker of the House. He said his resignation was based on the political zoning formula in the state.
The Speaker of the House, Chiji Collins, who had earlier defected from the All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA, to PDP to clinch the speaker’s position is yet to announce his defection.
The member representing Ideato North state constituency, Arthur Egwim, who also defected from Action Alliance, AA, to APC, said he defected because there “is confusion and division in AA.”
Amarachi Iwuanyanwu representing Nwangele, who defected from PDP to APC said he had not been invited to critical meetings of his party.
Chidebere Obulimba, representing Okigwe moved from PDP to APC “to move the state forward”.
Obinna Okwara, representing Nkwerre moved from AA to APC because “his constituency asked him to join APC.”
Also, Paul Emeziem moved from APGA to APC because of the “crisis in APGA”, just as the member representing Orsu, Ekenne Nnomelu also moved from APGA to APC because “there is factionalisation in APGA.”
Duru Onunaka, representing Ideato South, moved from AA to APC, claiming “there is a division in AA” while Ngozi Obiefule representing Isu State constituency moved from AA to APC, saying: “There is unrest in her former party, AA”.
Similarly, the member representing Ohaji/Egbema, Cyriacus Okoro, moved from PDP to APC, saying his defection was for personal reasons.
After the defection announcement, the Attorney-General of Imo State, Cyprian Akaolisa, appointed by Governor Hope Uzodinma, was called in for a screening and he was confirmed by the House of Assembly.
Immediately after, the speaker adjourned the sitting till 28th of January 2020.
Reactions over Supreme Court verdict
Meantime, Imo State stakeholders, yesterday, continued to bare their minds on the verdict of the Supreme Court, that voided the government of Emeka Ihedioha (PDP) and upheld Senator Hope Uzodinma (APC) as the validly elected governor of Imo State.
Many of the stakeholders, who spoke to Vanguard in Owerri said they were happy by the decision of the apex court, while others said there was nothing to rejoice about.
For Mr Sam Anokam, a community leader in Ihiagwa community, Owerri West Local Government Area, Uzodinma should start work immediately and prove his readiness to change the state for better, adding that all of them that contested rigged the election.
Anokam said: “Since independence, we are still craving for development. There is poverty in the land and people are running away to other countries looking for greener pastures. Those who are here are dying installmentally and businesses are not thriving.
“We are praying that there will be a change in the system and our leaders must think for the betterment of this nation.
“This Hope Uzodinma’s emergence is not a new thing in the politics of Nigeria. It is how you are able to strategise with your machinery. To tell you that they don’t rig is a lie. All of them rigged the election. It’s just how you are able to outrig the other person. So, let every fray nerves calm down, let us have peace. Ihedioha has introduced calmness in the state and it should be sustained.”
He advised that “Uzodinma should look at the aspect of things Ihedioha has introduced and ensure that he continues. Uzodinma should bring in his own ideas that will help the masses. He should begin work now.”
A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, APC, and former state secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, Mr George Egu, argued that the Supreme court did the right thing
Egu said: “Yes, Ihedioha should not be declared the winner of the election. It’s wrong for INEC to declare Ihedioha winner. The Supreme Court did the right thing.”
Reacting also, former chairman of Imo State Traditional Rulers Council, Eze Cletus Ilomunanya, urged the governor to be magnanimous in victory.
“He enjoined Imo people at home and in the Diaspora to join hands with the governor to ensure he succeeds as according to him, governance is teamwork.”
He said: “I have known Governor Uzodinma for many years. He is astute, tenacious and has the capacity to restore the lost glory of Imo. He is also kind-hearted and charismatic and I’m sure he will run an all-inclusive government. I implore well-meaning Imolites not to relent in offering useful advice that will help the governor.”
I also ask the governor to seek capable hands irrespective of political differences, who will assist him drive his administration and implement his laudable vision for Imo and her people.”