Amby Uneze in Owerri
The Speaker of the Imo State House of Assembly, Hon. Collins Chiji, has defected to the All Progressives Congress from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
He was joined by the Majority Leader of the assembly, Hon. Chigozie Nwaneri, and six other lawmakers.
Their defection brings the number of the APC lawmakers to 18 out of the 26 as Uju Onwudiwe (Action Alliance) of Njaba, who was returned elected during the last Saturday’s supplementary election, was yet to be inaugurated by the speaker.
The speaker announced his defection and that of his seven other colleagues during plenary yesterday.
The plenary, which lasted for 15 minutes, ended after the speaker announced the names of the defected lawmakers.
Apart from the speaker, Hon. Uche Ogbuagu(Ikeduru), Hon. Dominic Ezerioha ( Oru west); Hon. Chigozie Nwaneri(Oru East); Hon. Kanayo Onyemaechi (Owerri west); Hon. Kennedy Ibe (Obowo); Hon. Onyemaechi Njoku( Ihitte /Uboma) and Hon. Eddy Obinna( Aboh Mbaise) equally defected.
Obinna represents the constituency of Hon. Emeka Ihedioha who was sacked as the governor of the state by the Supreme Court on January 14.
The Deputy Speaker of the Imo State House of Assembly, Hon. Okey Onyekamma, representing Mbaitoli State Constituency, had earlier defected to APC, along with six others.
Meanwhile, the Imo State chapter the PDP has blamed hunger on the part of their members and inducement by the state Governor, Senator Hope Uzodinma, for the defection of the lawmakers.
The state Chairman of the party, Hon. Ray Emeana, told THISDAY that the leadership of the party tried to dissuade the lawmakers from defecting to the ruling party but some of them said they were offered mouth-watering inducement such as N50 million and two plots of land with certificates of occupancy (C of O) at choice locations each to join the party.
Emeana added that his party would be meeting today to deliberate on the issue, adding that the party is not facing any crisis that would warrant any of her elected member defect to another party.