Pandemonium reigns in Imo state as suspended LG chairmen resume office

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By Jude Aguguo Owuamanam, Owerri |

There was confusion in most of the 27 local government areas of Imo on Monday as the suspended chairmen and their councilors tried to resume duties.

The chairmen, elected on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), but sacked by the Peoples Democratic Party-led government, said that they acted in accordance to the Supreme Court judgment in the case between their counterpart in Ekiti and the state government.

The Supreme Court had ruled that no state governor has powers to sack elected local government chairmen and their councilors.

In most of the local council headquarters, including Orlu, Nkwerre, ldeato South, ldeato North, lsu, Nwangele, Njaba, Okigwe, lsiala Mbano, Ehime Mbano, Obowo, Owerri West and Owerri North, the chairmen and their councilors engaged members of the interim management committee appointed by Governor Emeka Ihedioha in war of supremacy.

The suspended LGA chairmen and their councilors had mobilized their supporters to the council while the Interim Management Committee chairmen equally mobilized their supporters to council headquarters, leading to rowdy moments in the areas.

It took the intervention of policemen to restore normalcy in some of the local government areas while in others, the police used tear gas to disperse them.

In Aboh Mbaise, the DPO of the area was said to have stormed the council headquarters and prevented the former chairman, Chidi Nwatuuruocha and his councilors from entering the office.

One of the appointees of the state governor, Kissinger Ikeokwu, said that the suspended chairmen did not gain entrance into the council headquarters, but only resumed duties at the gates.

He accused the suspended chairmen of trying to create crisis in the state, knowing that they will be defeated at the supreme court.

Special Adviser to former Governor Rochas Okorocha, Sam Onwuemeodo, said that the chairmen resumed work: “In respect and obedience to the Supreme Court judgement to that effect,” adding that “the chairmen and councilors have been peaceful in their conducts.”

He alleged that the state government tried to get court injunction Monday morning against the resumption of duty by the elected council chairmen and councilors in line with the supreme court judgement but failed woefully because none of the judges approached agreed to do that. But the Police Public Relations Officer, SP Orlando Ikeokwu, accused the suspended chairmen and their councilors of trying to stage a judicial coup.

Ikeokwu told our correspondent in an interview that the police were only acting to restore law and order, stressing that no court order had either been served on the state government or on the members of the Interim Management Committee asking the suspended local government chairmen and their Councillors to resume work.

He said the judgment in Ekiti will not automatically apply to the same scenario in Imo since the chairmen were still in court with the state government over their suspension.

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