by Rachel Ogbu
Speculations abound on the reported rift between the Imo State governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha and the state’s House of Assembly speaker, Benjamin Uwajumogu.
Reports that the governor may be nursing plans to remove him from his seat went mainstream earlier today when it was learnt that the ruling All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) is bent on changing the speaker.
It is believed that the governor is angry with the speaker for caving in to pressure (and the constitution) and swearing-in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Eugene Dibiagwu, as the member representing Oguta Constituency in the Assembly.
It was said that the healthy relationship between the governor and the speaker took a plunge immediately Dibiagwu was sworn in last month after the lawmakers returned from their controversial South African trip.
Dibiagwu had received the Certificate of Returns from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) but was prevented from being sworn in on two occasions by the speaker.
A source close to the Assembly said Okorocha wanted Uwajumogu to frustrate the swearing-in but was disappointed when the Speaker bowed to pressure and swore in Dibiagwu.
This, it was learnt, caused the strained relation between the governor and the speaker.
Okorocha, a source, who spoke in confidence said, has started shopping for a replacement for the speaker.
Uwajumogu in his defence was said to be responding to a court order, which directed that Dibiagwu be sworn in.
It was also learnt that the speaker wanted to avoid sparring any further with the PDP, his former party, which reportedly has a pending case in court against his defection to APGA.