-May have approved huge sum in error

In a desperate bid to retrace their steps and cast off the toga of Onwa Oyoko boys placed on them in different reports, thereby entangling themselves more in a web of double speak, inconsistency and alleged lack of integrity, the leadership of the ninth Imo State House of Assembly has denied approving N10b loan for the executive despite affirmations by the Speaker, Hon. Paul Emeziem and the former Deputy Speaker, Hon. Barr. Okey Oneykanma who in separate interviews acknowledged that the loan was actually sought and approved by the house as reported in the media.

The Nigeria Watchdog Newspaper in it’s Thursday March, 11 edition revealed how members of the Imo State House of assembly relegated due process to the background, flouted all parliamentary rules and procedure and approved N10 billion loan which the executive claimed would be deployed to the provision of infrastructural facilities.

The approval which was granted in an executive session instead of being tabled at plenary has generated heated controversy, public outcry and outright condemnation from a cross section of Imo people.

This probably, has prompted the leadership of the Imo State House of Assembly to resort to inconsequential denial and double speak as a face saving device.

The former Speaker of the Imo State House of Assembly Hon. Barr. Okey Onyekanma had in an exclusive interview with the Nigeria Watchdog Newspaper on Monday 10th March, 2021, said, “we are aware of the loan request which the executive said is for the provision of infrastructural development . We have no problem with that. Our grouse is that the issue should have been tabled at plenary for deliberation by members which is the ideal and lawful procedure. The idea of few people gathering to grant approval for such request for loan in an executive session is parliamentary ”.

It will also be recalled that the Speaker,Paul Emeziem had during plenary on Tuesday February 9, 2021 accepted that the N10b loan requested by the governor was approved in an executive session.

He told his colleagues at the said plenary that the loan was approved on the condition that the government will discount the 13 percent derivative fund accruable to the state from the excess crude account from Fidelity Bank. He further stated that the interest rate for the facility that is repayable in 36 months would be seven percent per annum.

Recall that the House Committee Chairman on Media and Publicity and member representing Ideato South Constituency in the Imo State House of Assembly, Johnson Duru had in an Owerri based newspaper, said that, “the Imo State House of Assembly did not approve N10b loan request for the governor as published in the media. There is nothing wrong in the governor approaching the legislature for such loan request if there is need for it. But for now, there is no such request”. He described the report as false and baseless.  

Concerned Imolites at home and in the diaspora have condemned in very strong terms, attempts by the leadership of the state legislature to deny approving the loan of N10billion naira which they had publicly acknowledged, announced and given reasons for approving in addition to the interest rate and gestation period.

One of the lawyers who pleaded Anonymity said,“This singular act of dishonesty, aside other previous negative actions have portrayed the state legislature and it’s leadership in very bad light. How can people who are addressed as honourable members exhibit such irritating and alleged dishourable conduct?”

“The fact that they are denying approving the loan contrary to their earlier statements in that respect is an acceptance of guilt. They know that what they did is not only an aberration but a slight on Imo people, whose representatives were denied opportunities to contribute to deliberation for or against the loan request, that was not tabled for discussion at plenary”.

Majority who spoke to this reporter advised the lawmakers to go beyond denying approving the loan and ensure that it is not surreptiously obtained behind the screen at the expense of Imo people whose future will be mortgaged and impeded by disguised repayment of the loan.