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Defection: Tension in Imo Assembly Members As Group Revives Court Case


Defection: Tension in Imo Assembly Members As Group Revives Court Case

There is presently, fear amongst some members of the Imo State House of Assembly, including the Speaker, Kennedy Ibe, following the revival of a suit targeted at sacking them.

Ibe and 16 other members of the House, had serially jumped from one political party to another, since coming to power in 2019.

20 members of the Cross River State House of Assembly, who had  dumped the PDP for the APC, were on Monday, sacked by a law court.

An Abuja Federal High Court, also pronounced the sack of the Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi, for defecting from the Peoples Democratic Party to the All Progressives Congress, APC.

Presently the fate of the Cross Rivers State governor, Ben Ayade and his deputy, now hangs in the balance.

The recent developments had motivated a group, Legal Defence and Assistance Project, to revive a suit it had filed in 2021, challenging the defection of some members of the Imo State House of Assembly.

The plaintiffs in the suit, Chijioke Nwachukwu, Chibuzo Ekene and Mmerole Modestus had instituted the suit against the Imo State Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice, Clerk of the House, Independent National Electoral Commission INEC, the Attorney General of the Federation, Hon Collins Chiji, Hon Amarachi Iwuanyanwu, Uju Onwudiwe and 15 others.

 In suit with number FHC/Ow/27/2020, which was filed by counsel of the group, Nath Epele and co, they had approached Federal High Court, Owerri, seeking to declare the seat of the said lawmakers vacant, on the grounds that they defected from the party which elected into them to the House.

The case was instituted when  Chiji Collins, member representing Isiala Mbano State Constituency was elected into the House on the platform of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, but later defected to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.

Collins dumped APGA for the PDP which won the Imo State governorship election, a move which enabled him to grab the Speakership of the Imo State House of Assembly.

After the Supreme Court sacked the Emeka Ihedioha led PDP government in Imo State on January 14, 2020 and declared Senator Hope Uzodimma of the APC as governor, Chiji alongside some members, also crossed over to the APC.

Aside Chiji, some members elected to the House on the platform of the PDP and APGA, also joined the APC.

Those who decamped are Kennedy Ibe (Obowo), Amara Chyna Iwuanyanwu (Nwangele), Innocent Arthur Egwim (Ideato North), Chidiebere Ogbunikpa (Okigwe), Obinna Okwara (Nkwerre), Paul Emeziem (Onuimo), Ekene Nnodim (Orsu), Duru Johnson (Ideato South), Ngozi Obiefule (Isu) and Hercules Okoro (Ohaji/Egbema), and Nnodumele Ekene (Orsu).

Others are Eddy Obinna (Aboh Mbaise), Samuel Otuibe (Ahiazu Mbaise), Uche Ogbuagu (Ikeduru). 

After some months, Chiji Collins was impeached for “parliamentary misconduct” and was replaced with Hon Paul Emeziem.

Amara Iwuanyanwu emerged Deputy Speaker of the House and has remained in that position till date.

Emeziem has been impeached and replaced with Kennedy Ibe.

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