Dr. Chiji Collins, representing Isiala Mbano Constituency on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), has been impeached as Speaker of the Imo State House of Assembly.
In his stead, Paul Emeziem, the member representing Onuimo Constituency, also of the APC, was elected as the new Speaker.
The assembly is made up of 20 APC members and seven Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) members.
Collins was elected speaker in June last year after he decamped from the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) to the PDP during the ousted Emeka Ihedioha administration.
When Governor Hope Uzodimma took over in January, this year, the impeached speaker, with others, joined Uzodimma’s APC.
The assembly members led by the Deputy Speaker, Chyna Iwuanyanwu, in a short session at the Ojukwu Centre temporary venue, which was heavily guarded by security agents, sealed the fate of the former speaker about 2 pm.
The impeachment motion was moved by Ekene Nnodumele (Orsu, APC) and seconded by Michael Njoku (Ihitte Uboma, APC).
“We, the undersigned, representing over the two-thirds majority of the members of the House, do state our unequivocal resolution to remove Collins Chiji as the Speaker of the House for gross incompetence, parliamentary ineptitude, financial impropriety, and high-handedness,” he said.
Members who signed the motion included Iwuanyanwu, who also presided over the impeachment; Amarachi Iwuanyanwu (Nwangele, APC); Nnodumele Arthur Egwim (Ideato North, APC); Emeka Nduka (Ehime Mbano, APC); Kanayo Onyemaechi (Owerri West); Michael Njoku (Ihitte Uboma, APC); Uju Onwudiwe (Njaba, APC) and Ngozi Obiefule (Isu APC).
Others were Paul Emeziem (Onuimo, APC); Johnson Duru (Ideato South, APC); Chigozie Nwaneri (Oru East, APC); Majority Leader, Uche Ogbuagu (Ikeduru, APC); Kennedy Ibeh (Obowo, APC); Tochi Okereke (Ngor Okpala, APC); Okey Onyekamma (Mbaitoli, PDP); Frank Ugboma (Oguta, PDP); Solomon Anukam (Owerri Municipal, PDP); Chidiebere Ogbunikpa (Okigwe, APC) and Anyadike Nwosu (Ezinihitte, PDP).
After the impeachment, the new Speaker, Emeziem, in his regalia and with other members and supporters headed to the Government House to meet with Uzodimma.
Though journalists were not allowed inside the plenary, sources told The Guardian that Collins was not in the session, adding that about 16 of 27 members impeached the former speaker.
Majority Leader of the House, Uche Ogbuagu (Ikeduru Constituency, APC), was present at the plenary.
Efforts to get Collins’ reaction was futile, as his media aide, Emeka Ahaneku, did not answer a call to his phone line.
Sources told The Guardian that members of the assembly accused the former speaker of earning almost 20 times more than an ordinary member, while legislative aides of the members have had their salaries slashed, among others.
It was also gathered that Uzodimma was not comfortable with Collins, who is said to be very close to Senator Ifeanyi Araraume.