– Allegedly get N1m each
– Govt. accuses Sen. Uwajimogu of fueling crisis in the House
– We didn’t collect bribe to backout – Hon. Egwim
It has been revealed that the Rochas Okorocha led government used it’s usual carrot and stick approach to entice nine members of the Imo State house of assembly into betraying their colleagues by backing out of the unanimous agreement they reached, to use the initially aborted presentation of the 2018 appropriation bill by the governor, to compel him to pay them their constituency allowance, with held by the state government, since 2015.
According to a house of assembly source, the legislators, held a meeting, where they unanimously agreed to insist on being paid their constituency allowance of almost thirty million naira per annum, each, which the state government has refused to pay since 2015, inspite of all entreaties. “It was this resolve that emboldened them to boycott the governor’s scheduled budget presentation. They even threatened to impeach the speaker for poor representation.
Continuing, he said, things began to fall apart in the camp of the legislators, when the former majority leader, Chief Lugard Osuji lost focus and became more interested in removing and replacing the clerk of House, Barr. Chris Duru, for personal interest, instead of concentrating on the collective decision and resolve of the legislators to compel Governor Okorocha, to at least pay them one year constituency allowance, to enable them dispense dividends of democracy to their already disappointed constituents.
One of the legislators, who also spoke on condition of anonymity, availed that “the governor, had already promised to pay each of us N20m naira but we refused and he was about making it N25m naira. However, when government became aware that Hon. Lawrence Duruji was not in support of the clerk’s removal, and would probably be a willing tool, in forestalling the plot, he was approached and subsequently, used in reaching out to, and mobilizing other members, allegedly, for a fee” ”.
There are allegations, that each of the nine legislators, who endorsed the suspension of one of the lawmakers (name withheld) and also derailed agitation for the payment of accumulated constituencies allowances before the presentation of budget by the governor, was paid the sum of one million naira by the state government, as gratification.
Those accused of the alleged betrayal, include all the lawmakers that participated during the plenary that saw to the suspension of the former majority leader.
When contacted on the issue, Hon. Innocent Egwim said he did not collect money from anybody. “I was part of the agitation but backed out on principle when I noticed that some people have gone outside the scope of our initial agitation in pursuit of personal interests, which I feel I should not be part of. As an elected representative of the people of Ideato North,, I should be very careful and conscious of my actions, in the interest of the people.
Efforts to reach other legislators for comments proved abortive.
However, according to keen observers, the legislators, can still compel the state government to yield to their demand, “if they put their house in order, ensure that the black sheep and fifth columnists among them are made to abide by their collective decision of resisting the governor’s well rehearsed carrot and stick approach. They have what it takes to compel the state government to do the needful if they collectively remain resolute, determined and focused”.
A government house source who spoke on condition of anonymity said, the state government is accusing the senator representing Imo North senatorial zone, Ben Uwajimogu of instigating crisis in the Imo State house of assembly.
Responding to a question, the source said, the distinguished Senator is said not to be inducing the legislators monetarily. “We understand, he cautioned them to shun naivety, stand up for their rights and be alive to their constitutional responsibilities, to avoid being used and dumped, like he, Unwajimogu and his colleagues, who are still being owed their severance allowance till date. It was only advise, borne out of experience.”