The Speaker of Imo State House of Assembly, Collins Chiji, and seven other members of the house have announced their defection to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
This defection is coming barely three weeks after the Supreme Court sacked Emeka Ihedioha of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and declared Hope Uzodinma of the ruling APC as the governor of the state.
The defection happened during the plenary session which lasted for 15 minutes on Tuesday.
Other PDP members who defected include the house majority leader, Chigozie Nwaneri(Oru East) and one of Mr Ihedioha's loyalist, Eddy Obinna (Aboh Mbaise), are Uche Ogbuagu (Ikeduru), Dominic Ezerioha (Oru West) Kanayo Onyemaechi (Owerri West), Kennedy Ibe (Obowo) Onyemaechi Njoku (Ihitte/Uboma), The Nation newspaper reports.
This brings the total number of APC lawmakers in the house to 18, out of the 26-member House. The winner of the recently conducted rerun election in the state, Uju Onwudiwe, of the Action Alliance (AA), is, however, yet to be sworn-in.
Prior to this development, on Monday, the Imo State Chairman of the PDP, Charles Ezekwem, defected to the APC.
As stated in his resignation letter, Mr Ezekwem said his decision was informed by "the prevailing circumstances within my party, vis-a-vis my present standing as the state chairman of the PDP. After due consultations with my family and with the approval of my supporters, I hereby tender my resignation as state chairman of PDP."
In the previous week, PREMIUM TIMES reported the resignation of Imo Deputy Speaker, Okey Onyekanma, and the defection of nine other members of AA, PDP and the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) to the APC.