-Group Condemns Action, Threatens Lawsuit
Members of the Imo State House of Assembly are presently speaking in discordant tones as most of them have frowned and expressed displeasure at the way the
N10b loan requested by the state governor ostensibly, for the provision of infrastructural facilities was approved by few legislators in an executive session, instead of the normal procedure of tabling the matter for deliberation at plenary.
When contacted for comment on the issue, the former Deputy Speaker and member representing Mbaitoli State Constituency, Hon. Barr. Okey Onyekamma confirmed that they are aware of the loan request, but faulted the unparliamentary approach of granting such approval in an executive session without the knowledge and input of other lawmakers. “They said the loan is for the provision of infrastructural facilities, which we have no problem about. But it is illegal and unparliamentary for few members of the legislature to deliberate on and approve such loan request without the consent of other lawmakers, whose opinions should equally be accommodated”.
Other lawmakers who spoke to this reporter, said less than 12 lawmakers run the Assembly and expressed dismay at the way and manner bills are now passed in executive session instead of at plenary, especially, since the incumbent Speaker,Paul Emeziem assumed office.
They accused Emeziem who they said now runs the legislature as a personal estate of erroneously seeing the legislature which is a distinct arm of government as an appendage or rubber stamp of the executive.
“The most glaring and flagrant abuse of legislative ethics and procedure is the approval of the
N10billion loan request by the governor at an executive session without recourse to due process. It is not only an aberration, and a blunder but a bad precedent that will always question the integrity of the 9th House of Assembly in Imo State”.
Meanwhile, a group known as Imo Transparency in Governance Initiative (ITGI) has threatened to go to court to challenge the obvious irregularities associated with the passage of some executive bills by the state legislature without due process.
A release signed by the President of the group, Comrade Victor Nwankwo, said “the Hon. Paul Emeziem led Imo House of Assembly is fast becoming the worst in the history of Imo State and if not checked, in no distant time, bills will be deliberated on and passed at Douglas House, at the instance of the executive, which from all indications, presently calls the shots and dictates the place of the legislature”.
He said that the concern of the group is that most of the laws being churned out directly affect the Imo electorate, not the lawmakers who for reasons best known to them decided to play along without logically considering the long term implications of their actions and inactions.
“That is why we have resolved to relentlessly insist that the right things are not only done, but seen to have been done, no matter whose ox is gored”.
On the issue of Hon. Uche Ogbuagu, member for Ikeduru State constituency’s removal as Majority Leader of the House, the group said, they will not make any statement about that because, “Hon. Uche Ogbuagu from all indications deserves what he got. As Majority Leader of the house, he supported the passage of some of these bills. The vocal and outspoken Uche Ogbuagu we knew, suddenly lost his voice, while pensioners were being dribbled here and there, in the guise of frequent and unnecessary verification exercises. The moment he was made Majority Leader, he lost touch with people and stopped identifying with their course. His radio station became a publicity arm of the Hope Uzodinma government, while his human rights advocacy on air, was unceremoniously replaced with undeserving ovation, applause and outright praise singing for every step and movement of the shared prosperity government to the astonishment of bewildered Imo people who wondered what had come over their once celebrated idol, and Senior Advocate of the Masses Uche Ogbuagu”.
They opined that what has just happened to Uche Ogbuagu should serve as a deterrent to those who ride on the people’s back to power with deceit and chameleonic tendency and warned them, according to Julius Caesar “to be ware of the ides of March”.
“Uche Ogbuagu, as Majority Leader, facilitated the enactment of some of the obnoxious laws which we intend to collate, package and make public in due course. They will also be the grounds upon which we will seek redress in court on behalf of Imo people. As far as we are concerned, the
N10b loan allegedly approved by lawmakers for the governor does not hold water because, it is assumed that the governor unilaterally took the loan which lacks legal backing, solely on his own volition.
“The loan is public fund because it will be repaid from Imo peoples’ money. Approval for it should not be granted in the absence of other lawmakers who also represent a cross section of Imo people”, the averred.