Tension enveloped the state as the Speaker Imo House of Assembly further adjourned the House plenary sitting meant for today 22nd August 2012 to next Wednesday 29th August 2012, citing threat of breakdown of law and order. This development however is not far from the resistance by the Imo APGA viz a viz the Governor of Imo State to frustrate the swearing in if the winner of the recently conducted election into the Oguta House of Assembly seat Hon. Eugene Dibiagwu.
You will recall that after a protracted legal battle, the Courts of the land finally gave its nod for election to be conducted in four wards to determine who represents Oguta in the Imo House of Assembly. That judgment did not go down well with the APGA led Imo State Government because the Court validated the results of 7 wards as conducted during the general elections in that Dibiagwu led his APGA counterpart with a clear majority which the total population of the four remaining wards could not cancel.
Another reason for the resistance of the APGA led Imo government is the agitation of the Ohaji/Egema and Oguta LGAs which are the states’ two oil producing LGAs that Governor Owelle Anayo Rochas Okorocha has failed, refused or persistently neglected to give them their due of the 30% of investment arising from the 13% derivation fund accruable to Imo State, through the Imo State ISOPADEC Law. This development has made the people of the area regret the massive support they gave the Governor which eventually gave him the decisive victory against Ikedi Ohakim in the controversial Imo Governorship election. This development coupled with what they described as the arrogance and larger than life attitude of the Imo SSG Professor Anthony Anwukah strengthened their resolve to deal with the APGA at the polls.
On their part, the APGA led Imo government saw that their only magic wand was to continue to be a clog in the wheel of progress against the election of Hon. Dibiagwu as they see his swearing in into the House as a massive defeat to the APGA led Imo administration. Prof Anwukah on his part sees a PDP legislator for Oguta as a dent to his political stature as a top shot in the APGA led Owelle Rochas Okorocha administration.
Despite spirited battle to forestall the election however, INEC went ahead to conduct the polls. The threat by APGA to boycott the poll did not deter INEC as according to the Electoral Law 2010, an election cannot be stopped by reason that some parties intended boycotted it. In the result of the Oguta State House of Assembly election concluded in four wards on Saturday 11th August, 2012, Eugene Dibiagwu of the PDP polled 3,712 votes to emerge victorious in the re-run poll. With his victory earlier in the seven wards, Dibiagwu emerged the member-elect for Oguta Constituency being that in the first election he polled 11,536 votes while his APGA and ACN counterparts polled 3,336 and 2,516 votes respectively.
Upon winning the election, Hon. Dibiagwu was given a Certificate of Return by INEC, but Imo State Government and APGA did not let it go. They used the machinery of the Speaker Imo House of Assembly Hon. Ben Uwajimogu to stall his swearing in into the House. On the first day Hon Dibiagwu approached the House to be sworn in, report say, the Speaker hurriedly closed sitting, deliberately to prevent Hon Dibiagwu from being sworn in. Reports say the Speaker fears his position as he does not want to run fowl of Governor Okorocha’s wish.
You will recall that following outcry from people, the Speaker, Hon. Benjamin Uwajimogu, addressed a press conference on the 21st of August 2012 where he refuted the allegation in some quarters that the Assembly deliberately refused to swear in the newly elected member for Oguta constituency in the 11th August election, Eugene Dibiagwu, of the Peoples Democracy Party (PDP), because the election was not in favour of the candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Walter Uzonwanne. Addressing journalists at the weekend in Owerri, Speaker Uwajimogu said contrary to the allegations from some persons on the above issues, the Assembly is intact, adding that Dibiagwu would be sworn in today 22nd August 2012.
But before the House would convene for the sitting, the Speaker issued a statement through the Honourable Member representing Okigwe State Constituency, Hon. Acho Ihim saying the House plenary scheduled for the 22nd August 2012 will no longer hold, citing threat of breakdown of law and order.
Reports from our sources say the PDP caucus of the House attended while the APGA members absconded thereby forestalling Dibiagwu’s swearing in and showing that all is not well at the Imo House of Assembly. Our source further reports that the IMHA complex and environment was heavily militarized, while Oguta people were said to have come to the venue enmass with youths, women, masquerades and other traditional dance troupes to show solidarity to Hon. Dibiagwu.