On February16, 2012, one of the national dailies carried a news report to the effect that a splinter group in the Imo State House of Assembly had impeached the House Speaker, Hon. Benjamin Uwajumogu and elected a new one.
Naturally, the speaker was jolted by such a report, and had to issue a rebuttal through his special |adviser on media, Ikenna Samuelson Iwuoha.
In a statement made available to LEADERSHIP, the speaker denied the impeachment story adding that it was the handiwork of enemies of the legislature and the Rochas Okorocha-led administration.
The statement reads in part: “The attention of the Imo State House of Assembly has been drawn to a publication by a daily newspaper (names withheld) edition of Thursday, February 16, 2012 page 12, with the headline “Imo House Splinter Group Elects New Speaker.
“Ordinarily, we could not have bothered one bit to respond to the said sensational publication, but in order not to allow the reading public to be fed with wrong and malicious information, we deem it necessary to respond (for the sake of honesty and clarity) as follows: that there is no crisis in Imo state House of Assembly.
“That Imo state House of Assembly has only one elected speaker, Rt. Hon. Chief Benjamin Chukwuemeka Uwajumogu.2
Nevertheless, LEADERSHIP gathered that some members of the house had held some clandestine meetings to impeach the speaker.
According to a revelation by one of the legislators, Ikechukwu Amuka, representing Ideato South, “There have been clandestine meetings sponsored by a chieftain of the rival political party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in the state, Simeon Iwunze representing Isiala Mbano Constituency to remove the house.
Amuka who represents the governor’s constituency, Ideato South, alleged that the group were perfecting the impeachment move in anticipation of the Supreme Court’s judgement, which the members thought would have been delivered on February 17, 2012.
He also alleged that there was a grand design by some injudicious members of the house, to elect Hon. Dimaku Kingsley, who hails from the same local government area of former Governor Ikedi Ohakim.
Some members of the house who pleaded anonymity said that it was being rumoured that the Supreme Court would order a rerun of the Imo governorship election, following an appeal filed by the former governor of the state, Ohakim, challenging the supplementary governorship election held in the state, after no clear winner emerged in the first ballot last year.
According to the source, “It became pertinent to impeach the present speaker Uwajimogu who is believed to be the governor’s boy.”
The House members allegedly plotting the impeachment move, saw Speaker Uwajimogu as a stumbling block in the case of annulment of the election by the apex court.
There was fear that Uwajimogu would continue to take instructions from Okorocha, if a rerun was directed by the apex court.
And since the court did not give the verdict on February 17, the ‘rebellious’ legislators have reportedly made a U-turn, pledging their loyalty to both the speaker and the governor.
Some of the ‘coup plotters’ were said to have denied any move to impeach the speaker; instead they are branding Amuka as a purveyor of false information.
LEADERSHIP gathered that Iwunze and his gang may be acting the script by the former governor, Ohakim, who according to reports from his camp is hoping to return to Government House, Owerri in case the election that gave victory to Okorocha is nullified.