From Everest Ezihe, Owerri
A combination of several seen and unseen forces and factors contributed immensely to the last Friday’s impeachment of the Speaker, Imo State House of Assembly, Rt Hon. Chiji Collins, representing Isiala Mbano State Constituency.
Investigation by the The AUTHORITY in Owerri revealed that the embattled immediate past Speaker, was caught in the web of a fierce political face off between Governor Hope Uzodinmaa, former Governor Rochas Okorocha, and Senator Ifeanyi Araraume.
Recall that the three political strange bed fellows strategically teamed up and ousted Rt Hon Emeka Ihedioha, the 2019 PDP Governorship candidate and the INEC declared winner of the gubernatorial election, using the Supreme Court, however, the three political war Lord’s fall apart few weeks after Uzodinma’s inauguration as governor went solo in running the state.
Uzodinma’s alignment with Minister of State, Education, Hon Emeka Nwajiuba, had further ruffled the Okorocha/Araraume political camp.
More so, the deepening crisis in APC, in Imo State, which reinforced the rivalry between Governor Uzodinma, Okorocha and Araraume, is another unseen factor which contributed to the Speaker ordeal.
With fresh threats by sacked local government chairmen and Councillors loyal to Okorocha to take over the local government councils on November 30, following favourable judgement from a Federal High Court, the next target in the perceived suicide political game plan of anti Uzodinma forces, was to sway members of the House of Assembly to dump the APC for the PDP and possibly prepare grounds for the impeachment of Governor Uzodimma.
Already, early last week, playing the political John the Baptist, Hon Paschal Okolie, member representing Orlu State Constituency had decamped to the PDP from the APC, fuelling signs that more lawmakers were on their way out of the ruling party in line with the plot. The AUTHORIY authoritatively gathered that 9 other APC State law makers have advanced plans to dump their broom and hold firm to the umbrella.
It’s pertinent also to remember that Collins a strong political ally of Senator Ifeanyi Araraume was elected into the Imo State House of Assembly on the platform of the All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA, of which the Araraume was the gubernatorial flag bearer.
As one of the conditions for his emergence as Speaker of the House, when Governor Emeka Ihedioha of the PDP was elected Governor of the State Colins was to dump APGA and embrace PDP.
When Ihedioha was removed by the Supreme Court and replaced by Senator Hope Uzodinma, Collins again switched allegiance to the APC Governor by carpet crossing to APC as he retained his Speakership.
Thus within a year and five months, the ex Speaker, in line with changing and emerging dynamics in the House of Assembly, and in a bid to keep his job, defected from APGA to PDP and lately to the APC, amidst controversy over his certificate which seems to have been swept under the carpet.
The AUTHORITY learnt that the events which led to his impeachment were linked to suspicions of political romance with his erstwhile political godfather, Araraume which the Uzodinma camp no longer felt comfortable with his perceived overbearing political ambition.
Those close to the then Speaker say allegations of his divided loyalty remain a farce in government circle and the state government was seriously worried. He was however caught off guard last Friday when 19 of the 27 members of the House voted for his impeachment as Speaker during plenary session at the Assembly complex.
Allegations of gross misconduct and financial impropriety, parliamentary ineptitude were levelled against him.
Motion for his impeachment was swiftly moved by Ekene Nnodumele (APC-Orsu), and seconded by Micheal Njoku (APC Ihitte Uboma) and the pre-planned deed was done.
Paul Emeziem, member representing Onuimo State Constituency was quickly elected new Speaker of the House and immediately taken to Government House where a party was hosted on his behalf and for the emergence.