By Chidiebube Okeoma, Owerri

….. As Imo lawmakers shun plenary after deputy speaker’s removal

An atmosphere of confusion engulfed the Imo State House of Assembly complex in Owerri, the state capital on Thursday as lawmakers refused to come for a plenary scheduled to hold for the day.

This came after 18 out of the 27 lawmakers had on Tuesday removed the deputy speaker, Amara Iwuanyanwu.

The resolution for Iwuanyanwu’s removal was presented to the Speaker, Paul Emeziem, who presided the session, by Ekene Nnodimele who represents Orsu state constituency.

Iwuanyanwu, who was at the plenary, had sought to find out the content of the letter Nnodimele gave to the Speaker, but Emeziem immediately ordered Iwuanyanwu to go back to his position.

The Speaker thereafter hit the gavel okaying Iwuanyanwu’s removal after reading the resolution.

Iwuanyanwu immediately stormed out of the plenary and zoomed off in his convoy.

The Speaker afterwards adjourned the plenary till Thursday. Surprisingly, no lawmaker was sighted at the House of Assembly complex on Thursday.

Speculation had been rift that the Majority Leader, Anayo Onyemaechi, and the Clerk of the House, Chinelo Emeghara, who were said to be the allies of the removed deputy speaker, would be removed on Thursday during plenary.

The PUNCH correspondent, who visited the Assembly complex on Thursday morning and stayed till afternoon, reported that no lawmaker came.

While a few aides of the lawmakers came and thereafter left, the complex was a shadow of itself.

Our correspondent’s investigation revealed that the former deputy speaker was fighting hard to restore his position while the Speaker was hell-bent in making sure that the impeachment stood.

A source at the Assembly confided in our correspondent that both the Speaker and the former deputy speaker flew in to Abuja the next day to have an audience with the state governor, Hope Uzodimma.

The source said, “The battle has now shifted to the executive arm of government. The Speaker and the removed deputy speaker are in Abuja as we speak. Other lawmakers of the All Progressives Congress’ extraction are also in Abuja.

“While Amara Iwuanyanwu and his group are working to upturn the removal, the Speaker and his loyalists are insisting that a new deputy speaker be named. Let us see how it goes.”

Copyright PUNCH.