Obinna Odogwu, Awka
There was a rowdy session at the Anambra State House of Assembly when the Chairman of the House Committee on Housing, Lawrence Ezeudu, allegedly barred his colleague, Ebele Ejiofor, from grilling the Commissioner for Housing, Michael Okonkwo, during the 2021 budget defence.
Ejiofor, who represents Anaocha I Constituency had wanted to query the commissioner about the budget proposal for new court buildings and a housing estate for civil servants when, according to him, there were abandoned court projects in the state.
The lawmaker, while narrating what transpired to Daily Sun, said that he had also wanted to find out why proposals were made for new projects in the budget when there were many abandoned projects some of which were similar to the proposed ones.
He said that he was barred from asking the commissioner some questions and that the commissioner was rather told to bow and go by the chairman.
Ejiofor said: “Even though the chairman can appoint who will ask questions, he cannot stop members from asking questions. I wanted to ask questions as it concerns some things I saw in that budget.
“In that budget, about N150 million was to be spent on new High Court and Customary buildings in the state. I don’t have the actual figure off hands. But in my constituency, there were abandoned court projects.
“Again, the civil servants housing estate in Isiagu was not mentioned in the budget. What it means is that it has been abandoned. It was the same thing with the Three Arms Zone. It has also been abandoned.
“So, these are things that I wanted to ask the commissioner to give us answers on why the situations were like that. Some of them were telling him to bow and go. They said that it was the committee chairman that could determine who would talk.”
But in a swift reaction, the committee chairman, Ezeudu, who also represents Dunukofia Constituency, said the committee had fruitful deliberations with the ministry of housing and that everybody was given enough space to make contributions.
He said: “I am the chairman committee on housing and I gave everybody equal opportunity to air his view. So, the member you are alleging was not given enough time to air his view is an allegation.
“We had a bilateral interaction that lasted over an hour and he had all the time in the world to air his views. He also has at least three years ahead to probe into the affairs of the housing ministry.”