Imo Deputy Governor Missing In Action As Speaker Assumes His role Amidst Controversy

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Represents Uzodinma at functions

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There are indications that the Deputy Governor of Imo State, Prof. Placid Njoku has again been sidelined and made redundant as the speaker of the state House of Assembly, Hon. Paul Emeziem who seems to have indirectly taken over, now represents the governor at functions to the astonishment of bewildered Imo people.

Among Some of the events at which tongues have wagged at such flagrant abuse of protocol was the opening ceremony of the two day national ground expansion programme first consultative  forum held at Rock view Hotel,yesterday where the Speaker, Paul Emeziem abandoned his legislative assignment to represent the governor instead of the Deputy Governor, whose responsibility it is to hold brief for his principal at such functions.

It was also gathered that the deputy governor who has been redundant for some time was free as he did not have any serious engagement on that day, that would have prevented him from representing the governor at the event.

This, according to our source, further gives credence to recent reports that describe the Speaker of Imo State House of Assembly, Hon. Emeziem as “Onwa Oyoko boy”.

“Besides, if there was need for the governor to be unavoidably absent, at the event which was a petroleum related programme, his Special Adviser on Petroleum, Oil and Gas Matters, Hon. Goodluck Opiah should have represented him, not the speaker.

But because the Speaker who can’t strike a balance between the constitutional roles, duties and responsibilities of the executive and that of the legislature as distinct arms of government has reduced himself to the level of running errands for the governor and has in the process, mortgaged the rights, status and authority of the legislature, hence the governor now delights in sending him to represent him at functions”.

It was also gathered that some of the appointees of the state government who are infuriated by the development which they perceive as the speaker’s encroachment on their “territory”, have expressed reservation, wondering way the speaker has become so petty.

Another source who spoke on condition of anonymity hinted that the patient medicine dealer turned legislator and Speaker of Imo Assembly unlike most of his colleagues, did not visit his country home during the Easter break because he did not want to miss some of the programmes where he was expected to represent the governor. But another insider posited that the Speaker did not visit his ancestral home because he deliberately avoided his kinsman some of who he felt would have come to him for one form of assistance, patronage or the other.

An aggrieved lawmaker who does not want his name in print said, “the Speaker’s infuriating attitude has further portrayed the state legislature as an extension and rubber stamp of the executive arm. This has made some lawmakers to constantly avoid coming to the House of Assembly because there seems to be no serious legislative business going on. “The only time the Speaker convenes plenary is when there is need to deliberate on and probably pass an executive Bill”.

He believes his duty is to follow the governor around at the expense of his legislative responsibilities. All I am waiting for is for our tenure to elapse”.When contacted, the S.A. to the Deputy Governor on Media, Cosmas Ozioma said he will get back to our reporter but did not as at press time.  

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