For the first time since democracy in Nigeria in 1999, the ruling party does not have absolute control of the Imo state House of Assembly.
The current opposition parties in the state today, All Progressives Grand
Alliance and the Action Alliance collectively have 14 members(APGA
6, AA 8). The PDP which produced the executive have 13 members which
gives them a slight majority whereas the APC which has 20 members in the outgoing 8th assembly have no single lawmaker in the incoming house.
The race for Speakership may not be an easy ride owing to what is perceived to be an alignment by the opposition parties may stand a chance of producing the next Speaker if they unite against the PDP. This will be a major setback for the Emeka Ihedioha’s administration which will be looking forward to a “cordial” legislature to push the “Rebuild Imo Agenda”.
The PDP as it is cannot produce the Speaker of the House because of the zoning factor. The party failed to produce any member from Okigwe Zone which have been favoured for the Speakership position since Owerri zone have the Governor and Deputy Governor respectively.
Imo is one state that the zoning principle is greatly adhered to, to promote equity and fairness amongst the three zones of the state. The race for Speakership of the House seems to favour members from Okigwe zone mainly the AA and APGA except the PDP pulls some strings to get one of the members
of Okigwe decamp to the ruling PDP.
Ranking members are set to be considered, However, there is no rule that makes it compulsory that a principal officer of the House including the Speaker must be a “ranking member”. Certainly Ihedioha,the governor will desire a ” friendly legislature” and entrusting the Speaker in the hands of the opposition may not bode well for him in a state so many banana peels litter the political landscape.
He knows how to pull strings in a political puzzle having upstaged the applecart in 2011 with Aminu Tambuwal now the Governor of Sokoto State to emerge Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the House of Representative respectively but for a crusader of zoning and in which he rode on its back to the number one office in the state should as well ensure that Okigwe zone is not denied of what is rightly due for them.