The four lawmakers suspended by the Imo State House of Assembly on Wednesday have claimed that the action was meant to facilitate the impeachment of the Deputy Governor of the state, Eze Madumere, who has fallen out with the Governor, Rochas Okorocha.
The suspension heightened the political tension in the state as it was the first plenary after the national convention of the All Progressives Congress in Abuja where the supporters of the governor and those of his deputy engaged in a free-for-all while President Muhammadu Buhari was addressing the convention.
The Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Acho Ihim, who presided over the plenary, accused the suspended members of engaging in “unparliamentary conducts.”
The affected lawmakers were Chiji Collins, representing Isiala Mbano State Constituency; Ifeanyi Nnataraonye, Mbaitoli (the deputy governor’s LGA); Uche Oguwuike, Ikeduru State Constituency (deputy governor’s in-law’s LGA); and Ikenna Nzeruo, representing Oru West State Constituency.
The speaker appointed Lawman Duruji who represents Ehime Mbano as the chairman of the committee that will look into the allegations of the “unparliamentary conducts.”
Ihim, who did not explain the unparliamentary conducts, announced that the suspension was indefinite and that his leadership would not tolerate acts that would ridicule the Assembly before the members of the public.
One of the suspended lawmakers, Collins, was not allowed by the speaker to speak when he raised up his hands in protest.
The three other lawmakers stayed away from the plenary.
One of the affected lawmakers, who did not want his name in print, told our correspondent that he and three of his colleagues were suspended just to get at the deputy governor who had scores to settle with the governor.
He said, “What is unparliamentary conduct? They just called a dog a bad name just to kill it. They want to begin the impeachment proceedings on the deputy governor.
“They tried to win us before the just-concluded national convention of our party but the four of us and our colleagues who are members of the People’s Democratic Party refused.
“The only way they can weaken us was to suspend four of us. They know that with our suspension, the impeachment process will be a smooth one.”
But the speaker of the state House of Assembly told our correspondent that there was no political coloration in the suspension of the four lawmakers.
He said that anybody linking the suspension to impeachment proceedings on the deputy governor was raising a false alarm.
Ihim advised the suspended members to sort themselves out with the committee set up to investigate their “unparliamentary conducts.”