The last may not have been heard of the crisis rocking the Imo State House of Assembly linking the Speaker, Rt. Hon Chiji Collins to a certificate forgery.
Recall that the sacked lawmaker of Ehime Mbano State constituency, Honourable Lawman Duruji had accused Speaker Chiji of certificate forgery.
Although details of what may have transpired between the Speaker and his Ehime Mbano former counterpart leading to the latter wanting the downfall of Speaker Chiji is still sketchy, pundits and political watchers have said that Lawman Duruji is not working alone.
According to our reliable source who pledged anonymity, Hon Duruji is acting a script carefully written by a man desperate to take over the Speakership of the Imo Assembly at all cost.
Our source claimed Hon Kennedy Ibeh, the member representing Obowo State Constituency in the Imo State House of Assembly is strongly fingered in the clandestine and sustained move to impeach the Speaker.
The source, who described Hon Ibeh as savagely ambitious, quoted him to have boasted before his friends, that he will emerge victorious in his fight to emerge the Speaker of the Assembly come what may.
The source maintained that Ibeh had since deployed both men and resources to see the Speaker ousted through the certificate scandal.
“When this is done, he will become the Speaker,” the source said.
“What many do not know is that Hon Kennedy Ibeh was strongly behind the moves to impeach the Speaker because of his inordinate ambition to assume the speakership and subsequently become the political leader of Obowo and the number 3 man in Imo State,” the source further revealed.
According to the source, since the January 14, 2020, Supreme Court judgment that returned Senator Hope Uzodinma as the governor of Imo State, political analysts had predicted a possible adjustment and balancing in the political leadership of the State.
Analysts had argued that since the governor hails from Orlu zone, and the deputy from Owerri zone, it is morally and politically right that the Speaker of the House of Assembly comes from Okigwe zone.
Our source said it is this thinking that propelled Hon Kennedy Ibeh’s ambition to get the Speaker impeached and get him (Hon Ibeh) installed as the new Speaker.
“Look, my friend, let me tell you, Hon Kennedy Ibeh’s inordinate ambition and desperation for power knows no bounds. It’s a negative attribute that has presented him as a green snake in a green grass even among his political associates and friends.
“Do you even know that as we talk, Hon Kennedy Ibeh pretends to be in love with and working for Governor Hope Uzodinma? But just like the bible says, the heart of man is wicked.
“There is humongous evidence to show that Kennedy Ibeh owes his loyalty more to former Governor Rochas Okorocha than Governor Hope Uzodinma. Forget all this posturing,” the source stated.
The source insisted that Hon Kennedy Ibeh is notorious for changing camps and shifting loyalty with reckless abandon, and therefore, cannot in any way be trusted by any serious-minded political leader.
“Ask Chief Chris Okewulonu how Kennedy Ibeh once abandoned him after coming into the political limelight, riding on Okewulonu’s back.
“Like William Shakespeare would admonish, “Don’t trust the person who has broken faith once.” How can Kennedy Ibeh, who changes political camps and loyalty like he changes his underwear, be trusted? He is displaying this characteristic today in the House,” our source said.
He recalled that Hon Kennedy Ibeh was fingered in the N5.4 billion loot that took place at the Imo State Universal Basic Education Board (IMSUBEB) as his name was mentioned by the former Chairman of the Board, Dr. Mrs. Uche Ejiogu while testifying before the Commission of Inquiry Into Contract Awards between 2011 and 2019, set up by the Imo State Government.
Hon Ibeh was alleged to be involved in the financial scandal in his capacity as Special Assistant to then Imo State Commissioner for Finance, Deacon Chike Okafor.
According to Dr. Ejiogu, shortly after she returned to Owerri with the money, the Finance Commissioner, Chike Okafor, came one day and demanded the sum of N3.2 billion to be transferred to the bank account of White Label for a contract to build 91 school building projects that she knew nothing about.
She stated in the witness box under oath that when she made to demand for due process, Chike Okafor harassed her, threatening that the then governor, Rochas Okorocha, will sack her if she refused to process the transfer of the money to White Label bank account.
Meanwhile, our correspondent gathered that Hon Kennedy Ibeh has disclosed how his company, White Label International company Limited’s accounts were used to siphon funds from the N3.1bn IMSUBEB allocation to preferred individuals and companies.
Ibeh, who was special assistant to then State Commissioner for Finance and now a member of the House of Representatives for Okigwe South, Hon Deacon Chike Okafor, was said to have disclosed this while giving evidence before the judicial commission of inquiry on contracts.
He was said to have mentioned all the banks where the company’s accounts were domiciled, giving further details of how his company got involved in the construction of school blocks in the state.
The lawmaker was said to have recalled an incident in Zenith Bank premises, Owerri, involving the former Chairman of the Imo State Universal Basic Education Board (IMSUBEB), Dr. Mrs. Uche Ejiogu, Chike Okafor, Emeka Duru and himself.
“I was shown a document that contained names of schools and for each of those schools,names of some government functionaries were attached.”
“The first alert I got was for N1.7billion. The second document showed names of contractors and account numbers where monies should be paid into.
“I put it on record that schools in Ihitte Uboma, Obowo and Ehime Mbano were under Chike Okafor; schools in Ngor Okpala were under Sir George Eche, while the ones in Mbaitoli and Ideato area were under the former Deputy Governor, Eze Madumere and Dr. Paschal Obi, respectively,” Ibeh further disclosed.
While saying that a total of N3.1 billion was paid into his company’s account, Ibeh however, recalled that in 2014, while the projects were going on, he was invited by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), stressing that following the grilling, he thereafter, made serious inquiries to ascertain the status of the 91 school projects.
“I remember being told by the IMSUBEB Chairman, Uche Ejiogu, that the project was supposed to be a contract, but due process was not followed. It was at the EFCC that it dawned on me that there was actually a contract, which I never knew about. I am still visiting the EFCC. It is traumatizing that I am still being queried over this job.”
He expressed anger on being used and dumped, insisting that he did not get any reward from anybody thereafter.
When Justice Iheka read the testimony of Chike Okafor before the commission, Ibeh said: “I will be surprised to hear that he claimed that I bid for the contract and won because he (Okafor) knows he got me involved in this trauma.”
Our source further recalled that Hon Kennedy Ibeh was strongly involved in the purported impeachment of the former deputy governor of Imo State, Chief Eze Madumere in 2018, by the Imo State House of Assembly.
According to our source, Hon Ibeh headed the ad hoc committee set up by the House then to investigate allegations of gross misconduct brought against the deputy governor by 13 members of the House.
The committee stated in the report that the deputy governor had a “case to answer, given the weighty allegations against him.”
It recommended that the then Speaker, Dr Iheanacho Ihim, should request the Chief Judge of the state to appoint a panel of seven people of “unquestionable integrity” to investigate the allegations, pursuant to section 188 (6) of the 1999 constitution.
Early last year, it was reported all over the mainstream and social media about the commissioning of a rickety-like, shrine-like sports betting centre popularly known as bet9ja.
That show of shame took place during the build-up to the 2019 general elections. And that was what Hon Kennedy Ibeh was proud to present to Ndi Obowo as a constituency project.
Our correspondent gathered that not a few Obowo people felt insulted and humiliated by that singular act and wondered why it was difficult for Hon Ibeh to recognize the moral dimension of leadership by helping his supporters with funds that could enable them set up good business outfits.
Our source who claimed to have been following Hon Kennedy Ibeh’s political career stated that the legislator’s short political life is replete with distrust, betrayal, terrorism, failed agreements, cultism, and mysterious deaths.
“Are you not aware that he has used his current office to so terrorise the good people of Obowo such that the people now live in total fear?
“He has funded and promoted cultism in the LGA such that Obowo citizens are now at the mercy of cultists,” he noted.
The source took a swipe on the lawmaker, saying, “Kennedy Ibeh is over-representing himself and misrepresenting the people who gave him their mandate under the scorching sun.”
The source, therefore, advised Speaker Chiji Collins to be wary of characters like Ibeh whose political lifestyle is dogged with blackmail, betrayal and backstabbing.