·        May be worse than predecessors

The Speaker of the Imo State House of Assembly, Hon Paul Emeziem who assumed office few months ago, seems to be under heavy financial burden arising from alleged desperation to become Speaker and the need to greeze the palms of king makers who call the shots, hence is presently said to have gone bankrupt.

This development became glaring, when the Speaker all through the festive period maintained a low profile and diligently avoided not only his kinsmen but his colleagues, most of who have complained bitterly that he hardly picked   their calls nor returned same.

One of them who pleaded anonymity, said, “when you call and get the response that the Speaker was on another call, he would still not call you back after answering the call. We don’t know if there is an instruction that he should not be seen with his colleagues. The whole thing has become confusing. There are indications that he may end up as the worst Speaker in the history of Imo State.”

His creditors are still not left out in the complaint galore as most of them are also wondering why the Speaker who they were constantly in touch with, suddenly stopped responding to their calls. “The worst is that, he would ask for your account details and would still not pay in a kobo. When you go to his house or office, you will be told by his aides that he is not around. If you are lucky to run into him suddenly, he will tell you how pressing family needs made it difficult for him to transfer money to you with his Mobile App.”

These pockets of complaints from creditors and some of the Speaker’s  colleagues have raised questions about how the Speaker, who prior to assuming office was not known to be indebted to anybody has now been made a pauper.”

There are also speculations that, “ he has lost  control and no longer has the capacity to question the executive if and when the need arises nor the courage to ensure that the legislature diligently performs it’s oversight functions, as stipulated in the constitution.”

The social media a while ago, was awash with photographs of the Speaker, dressed in a branded T-shirt with the governor’s photograph at a public function, as if he was on a campaign tour.

The post drew the ire of the public most of who not only made negative comments but lambasted the Speaker who they said does not appreciate the concept of separation of power and  the fact that as the Speaker of Imo State house of assembly, he heads the legislative arm of government just like the governor heads the executive.” None is inferior to the other. It is just that the governor by virtue of some constitutional provisions is seen as the first among equals.”

Some lawmakers who spoke to Nigeria Watchdog on the issue, said, “the situation is very dicey. “The Speaker’s withdrawal syndrome and inability to be assertive when the need arises is one of the major challenges the ninth assembly is presently facing. This has affected our performance rating by Imo people and our constituents who expect much from us.”

“Some of us erroneously believed that Hon Paul Emeziem’s emergence as Speaker would change the narrative but unfortunately, it is still business as usual and things may even get worse, if care is not taken. Much as we don’t expect him to confront or be at logger heads with the executive, there  is need for us as legislators, not only to be relevant but to also do the needful, be conscious of and alive to our constitutional responsibilities in the interest of Imo people who gave us their mandate for a purpose.”

Effort to reach the Speaker for comment proved abortive as he also did not take his calls.

Some political pundits who commented on the issue, said, “desperation for political office and the huge cost often involved is the people’s albatross. The eventual occupants of such offices focus more on what they will gain to enable them recoup their expenses thereby placing less premium on quality service delivery which is the real essence of political office. Until this trend is changed, the people will continue to suffer the consequences.”