The year 2021 was an eventful political year which witnessed a burst of activities that will remain evergreen in Imo’s political calendar. NAIJATABLOID correspondent compiled some of these issues and events that shaped the heartland State’s politics and made it an unforgettable political year.
Dramatic Imo Assembly: impeachment of two Speakers in 12 months and suspension of lawmakers:
In the last 12 months, Imo political space, especially the State House of Assembly stayed in the scene almost all year round and witnessed the swearing in of three Speakers within a space of one year.
At first, former Speaker, Hon.Chiji Collins was impeached over alleged financial impropriety, high handedness, and gross misconduct and was replaced by Mr Paul Emeziem from Onuimo Local Government Area, who later was also impeached at a special sitting around November, 2021.
Even though he was immediately replaced by Mr Kennedy Ibeh (APC-Obowo), a second term member of the House, the year 2021 will be incomplete without a mention of the crisis that erupted in the Imo Assembly complex and how sporadic gunshots rented the air while the then Speaker, Emeziem was whisked away by his security details shortly after the failed impeachment of his deputy, Amara Iwuanyanwu.
The impeached Emeziem was accused of engineering the impeachment of his deputy, Amara Iwuanyanwu, with N10m largesse.
Few weeks later, the Imo State House of Assembly, led by Kennedy Ibeh, declared vacant, the seat of the member representing Ngor Okpala Constituency, Tochi Okere, asking the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct a by-election to elect a representative for the constituency.
Three lawmakers Authur Eguim (Ideato North), Ngozi Obiefule,(Isu) and Obinna Okwara (Nkwerre) were also suspended for allegedly attending Uche Nwosu’s mum’s burial.
Gov Uzodinma’s country home attack:
Apart from the 2021 frequent deadly attacks on security formations and officials in Imo State, Governor Uzodinma’s country home was attacked by gunmen and a part of it set ablaze in April.
There were also reports of security operatives carrying out indiscriminate killings and arrest of civilians in the State.
Opposition PDP, APGA demand Uzodinma’s resignation over insecurity in Imo:
The Imo State Governor, Senator Hope Uzodinma had consistently accused the opposition leaders of trying to remove him by allegedly making the State ungovernable through unknown gunmen.
The main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, led by Engr. Charles Ugwuh in turn called on Uzodinma to immediately resign for lack of capacity to protect Imo people.
The PDP in Imo had alleged that as a result of the inability of Gov Uzodinma to tackle the hydra-headed insecurity in the State, prospective investors fled the State.
The party told journalists that it finds it too worrisome that on a daily basis, innocent civilians and security personnel were being mowed down.
PDP said arson, murder and carnage have become the lot of the hitherto most peaceful State in Nigeria.
Also, the leadership of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, in the State had also asked Gov Hope Uzodinma to find ways to stop the killing in the State or resign if he is unable to provide adequate security to the people he is governing.
APGA had made the call in a release signed by Hon. Emeka Nkwoada, its Publicity Secretary.
Rochas Okorocha, Godswill Ararume and their supporters schemed out:
The likes of Senator Rochas Okorocha and Senator Ifeanyi Ararume and their supporters were schemed out of the revalidation of membership exercise of APC by Hope Uzodinma.
Recall how the former Governor of Imo State, Senator Rochas Okorocha and Senator Ifeanyi Araraume had complained that they and their supporters were barred from the registration and revalidation exercise, while Gov. Uzodinma stated that those who were complaining about the APC registration in the State were those who never came near to get registered.
Also noteworthy is the appointment of Ifeanyi Ararume, a former Senator, as the chairman of the board of the NNPC Limited before President Muhamadu suspended the planned inauguration of the board without giving reasons, amid feud with Uzodinma. Ararume was later replaced by Mrs Okadigbo who was on the first board as the representative of the South-east.
We know for sure that the last has not been heard of Okorocha, Ararume and their supporters. We look forward to more twists and turns in this year 2022..
Uche Nwosu church arrest:
NAIJATABLOID review of the 2021 major political events may not be complete without mentioning the controversial arrest of Ugwumba Uche Nwosu, Action Alliance (AA) Governorship candidate in Imo State.
Okorocha’s son-in-law was arrested at St Peter’s Anglican Church, at Eziama Obieri in the Nkwerre Local Government Area of the State while he and his family members were on an outing service after the burial of their mother, Jemimah Nwosu.
The arrest, which united major opposition leaders like Rt Hon Emeka Ihedioha, Senator Samuel Anyanwu, among others, has continued to generate controversy because of the way it was carried out by security operatives.
IPOB sit-at-home order:
Another major event worthy of mention is the IPOB sit-at-home order. There has been total compliance in Imo State, with markets, schools, banks, motor parks, and even worship centers always shut down out of fear. NAIJATABLOID