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Imo: Deputy speaker, minority leader resign

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Following the removal of Emeka Ihedioha of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) by the Supreme Court last week and the inauguration of All Progressives Congress (APC)’s Hope Uzodinma in his stead, nine House of Assembly members has defected to APC.

Before the development, APC had no member in the legislature.

Among the defectors is Ekene Nnodumele of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), who consequently resigned his position as the Minority Leader.

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Other defectors are Chyna Iwuanyanwu (Nwangele, PDP), Innocent Egwim (Ideato North, AA), Chidem Emelumba (Okigwe, PDP), Obinna Okwara (Nkwerre, AA), Paul Emeziem (Onuimo, APGA), Duru Johnson (Ideato South, AA), Ngozi Obiefule (Isu AA) and Herculus Okoro (Ohaji-Egbema, PDP).

Nnodumele resigned alongside the Deputy Speaker, Okey Onyekanma (PDP, Mbaitoli), who was the Chairman, House Committee on Rules and Business.

Onyekanma, in his resignation letter addressed to the Speaker, Chiji Collins, and read on the floor of the house yesterday, said his resignation was in respect of the convention and zoning arrangement in the state, which reserved the position for the same senatorial zone of the governor.

Onyekanma was elected unopposed following the emergence of Ihedioha as governor who hails from Owerri zone as him.

Meanwhile, Governor Uzodinma has promised to conduct fresh council election that would conform to the Local Government laws.

He also pledged to work with monarchs in the 645 autonomous communities in the state to ensure peace, order, and tranquility in their domain.

Uzodinma disclosed this on Monday when monarchs from the 27 councils led by the Chairman of the Traditional Rulers Council, Eze Sam Ohiri, visited him at Douglas House, Owerri.

On assumption of duty last year, the immediate past administration of Ihedioha, in compliance with the resolution of the 8th House of Assembly, suspended all the elected officials in the 27 councils. They emerged through an election conducted by Ihedioha’s immediate predecessor, Rochas Okorocha. In their place, Ihedioha raised Interim Management Committee (IMC) in each council for six months in the first instance. When it expired last December, he extended it for another six months, until the Supreme Court sacked him.

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After he was sworn in last Thursday, Uzodinma sacked all the IMCs.

He urged the monarchs to work according to their mandated areas.

Ohiri said the monarchs came to identify with the governor in view of their conviction that power comes from God, and that he gives it to whomever he wishes.

They used the opportunity to pray for the governor and his deputy, Prof. Placid Njoku.

In another vein, the governor has assured Imo workers that before long, they would start receiving the new wage.

Also, he promised prompt payment of salaries and pensions on the 26th and 27th of every month, stressing that his administration would reform the civil service.

Uzodinma made the promises the same day when the organised labour led by the chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Imo chapter, Austin Chilakpu, visited him at the Government House.

He directed the committee on the new wage set up by Ihedioha to liaise with the Secretary to the State Government (SSG) to ensure quick report submission and prompt implementation.

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While promising cordial relationships with various unions in the state, including the labour union, he urged workers to work hard to justify their pay.

Chilakpu had earlier said that they came to congratulate the governor on his victory.

He expressed the union’s readiness to partner with the state government to develop the state’s civil service, urging prompt and simultaneous payment of salaries and pensions. He appealed for an unhindered flow of information between labour and the state government.

However, an elder statesman in the state, Fidel Anujuo, has appealed to citizens of the state to rally around Governor Uzodinma in the overriding interest of the state.

He urged those protesting against the Supreme Court in the state to stop forthwith and allow peace and development reign in Imo.

In a statement yesterday, Anujuo also urged Ihedioha to accept the Supreme Court verdict and move on with life.

His words, “Ihedioha as a knight of the Christian persuasion should accept that it is God that gives and takes power. He should come to the knowledge that he serves best who serves the will of God as expressed by men. The Supreme Court judges are impartial members and have given judgment in the best of traditions. And that should stand.”

He advised Ihedioha and his supporters not to give the impression that they were intent on rubbishing the judiciary just to advance their personal or political ambitions.

“The Supreme Court is the imprimatur of our civilised order. One cannot ridicule or destroy the judiciary and still have governance.”

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