Imo State House of Assembly, yesterday morning, impeached the Speaker, Paul Emeziem (APC, Onuimo), and installed Kennedy Ibeh (APC, Obowo) as the new Speaker.
The event took place at the temporary Assembly complex, Ojukwu Centre, Owerri.
Emeziem was not allowed into the chamber for the plenary. The security, after stopping him, continued making endless calls, until he drove away.
After the brief sitting, Ibeh and lawmakers drove away in their convoy.
Emeziem was reportedly removed because he refused to reinstate Iwuanyanwu, who is Governor Hope Uzodimma’s favourite. The governor had reportedly approached Emeziem to reverse the impeachment, but he refused.
The members, who had adjourned after Iwuanyanwu’s impeachment, to reconvene last Thursday, could not. They, however, surprisingly reconvened yesterday, without the knowledge of some lawmakers.
Emeziem, who emerged Speaker after the Supreme Court removed Emeka Ihedioha as governor, succeeded Chiji Collins (APC, Isiala Mbano). He was installed, then, under tight security. Even accredited journalists covering the assembly were not allowed in, save those from the Government House, Owerri.
The Guardian gathered that 19 of the 27 members of the assembly signed the impeachment document, but that about 10 were present, yesterday.
On November 2, 2021, the Deputy Speaker, Amara Iwuanyanwu (APC, Nwangele), was removed from office, and Emeziem was accused of expediting the process of his impeachment, having quickly acted on a document presented to him by Ekene Nnodumele (APC, Orsu), specifying that 18 members of the assembly, including the six, hitherto, suspended members, resolved to impeach Iwuanyanwu.
Interestingly, the same day Iwuanyanwu was removed, the six suspended members were recalled. They had been suspended in July 8 for alleged unparliamentary conduct.
Iwuanyanwu and his loyalists had allegedly boasted that his impeachment would not stand, adding that the action was taken to facilitate the impeachment of Uzodimma.
MEANWHILE, four recalled members of the house, including Ibeh, have dissociated themselves from endorsing any resolution last week to impeach Iwuanyanwu as the deputy speaker.
A statement they signed reads: “We, the four members of Imo Assembly of APC extraction, who were suspended on July 8, 2021 by Emeziem, wish to clearly disassociate ourselves and our signatures from any action, including but not limited to the purported impeachment of Iwuanyanwu as deputy speaker.
“This very fundamental statement comes from the information we have that our names and signatures appear in documents Emeziem is parading as evidence of 18 signatories.
“We state without equivocation that we were suspended unjustly, lucky to be reinstated after about four months, but are yet to resume office let alone engaging in any form of parliamentary activities.”
IN a new twist, Emeziem, alongside former Deputy Speaker, Okey Onyekanma (Mbaitoli), and Ekene Nnodumele (Orsu), has been suspended by the Assembly.
The impeached speaker was accused of highhandedness, forgery, gross misconduct and abuse of office.
Their suspension followed a motion moved by Chigozie Nwaneri (Oru East) and seconded by Michael Njoku (Ihitte Uboma).
But Ibeh has promised to right the wrongs by the past leaderships.