This is not the best of the moment for the State Governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha and members of the Imo State House of Assembly as the seeming rosy relationship existing between the two groups has turned sour.
Palpable fear and tension pervaded the Assembly complex this week when the planned special plenary session of the House scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday could not hold.
Imo Trumpeta learnt mistrust divide and rule occasioned by the influence of Governor Okorocha have destabilised the State legislature thereby creating uneasy calm and mutual suspicion among the state lawmakers.
Following plans by the state governor to induce members of the House to amend certain obnoxious laws meant to cover up certain financial irregularities noticed in the management of funds of the State since the present administration came to power, some of the aggrieved lawmakers were pitched against the Governor.
Trouble started when the Governor invited the members of the House to a meeting on Monday night to brief them on the purported plot to amend some of the laws and possibly twist the budget to accommodate some spent funds not captured in the budget of the State.
In a plot to break the ranks of the members, the Governor allegedly invited only the APGA members and two PDP members; Stan Dara (Orsu) and Obinna Okwara (Nkwerre). The state number one citizen reportedly discussed with the lawmakers and promised to “settle” them later.
After the discussion with the Governor, a text message was passed to all the members of the House for a special sitting on Tuesday. While the PDP members who were left out of the meeting with the Governor on Monday night waited endlessly at the Assembly complex, the other group again remained in Government House with the Governor till evening hours thereby forcing the Clerk of the House to send a text message to all members that the Special Session will hold yesterday.
On Wednesday, the APGA members with the two PDP lawmakers instead of reporting to the House for plenary session also relocated to the Governor’s office, where another PDP lawmaker Ikenna Emeh of Isu reportedly joined them after returning from a travel outside the State. Nobody sited the APGA lawmakers led by the Speaker, Ben Uwajumogu until 3.30pm when he appeared in the House and gave indication that the scheduled special session will no longer hold and possibly rescheduled for today.
Our correspondent learnt that there has been intensive horse trading over the purported move by the members to have an emergency session where some surgical legislative operations will be undertaken to cover up certain illegalities perpetuated by the present administration which borders on the financial recklessness. All the members were alleged to have had their hands greased except for Dr. Obioma Ekennia, Ezinihitte, Kingsly Dimaku (Ehime Mbano), Simon Iwunze (Isiala Mbano), Robert Ekwebelem (Onuimo) and Sam Daddy Anyanwu (Ikeduru).
Alarmed that they were not carried along in the scheme of things by the Governor, the rejected group went underground to perfect strategies to reject any move by the pro – Okorocha group if they attempt to insert any obnoxious item into the budget or law passed by the House in the past one year. The anti-Okorocha group was swelled by Ikenna Emeh who reportedly walked out of the meeting in Government House for undisclosed reasons and returned to the Assembly to lament the ill treatment meted to them by the Governor.
Further investigation by our reporter revealed that the APGA dominated lawmakers who is enjoying favour from Okorocha were however miffed that the Governor allegedly offered them peanuts to cooperate and give him soft – landing in the new arrangements. Their indifference approach to the matter forced an increase in the bargain and as at the time of going to press, a huge sum of money was made available to pacify the willing pro – Okorocha group to enable them play ball. A top civil servant in the House is said to be behind the “money – sharing” deal for the proposed amendment and twisting of the laws and budget scheduled for today.
The “divide and rule” system may give rise to a disharmonious relationship capable of heating the polity in the State Assembly and disrupting the planned special sitting scheduled for today at the Assembly chambers.