Stanley Uzoaru, Owerri
This might not be the best of times for Imo State House of Assembly Speaker, Chiji Collins as 22 out of the 27 members of the house allegedly append their signature to commence an impeachment process against the Speaker.
The plot according to a source in the house may be executed when the house resumes from its shutdown as a result of some members of the house testing positive for the Coronavirus.
It was gathered that the 22 members have already approached the speaker to resign or face impeachment.
The Speaker among other allegation have been accused of greed, allocating to himself chairman of more commitee of the house.
According to the member representing Oguta State constituency, Frank Ugboma, “there is a moment of unfortunate in-house leadership inertia within the hallowed Chambers of the state legislature, despite the fact that house itself has not failed in its primary business of legislation, which is to make quality laws.
“The people we represent, now see us as alleluia boys of the executive arm, just because our speaker, Hon. Chiji Collins kowtows to the bidding of the executive even on critical issues of governance. This is so much so, that he is now cowed to carry out oversight over executive misdeeds.
“Though, as a House we collectively take responsibility for failure to stand for our people, many of whom are civil servants and pensioners who are owed salaries and pensions up to four months arrears. I need not bore you with the recent road demonstration by our aged senior citizens, in protest of their unpaid pensions.
“At various times, I have been inundated with calls and messages from many of such owed government employees and retirees from my constituency. Many times have I assured them, to no avail.
“Come to think of it, should I break the spirit of those my constituents (who come to seek help), with the news that I am also owed salaries, even as member of the House of Assembly?
“At a time like this, some of our members are battling with Covid-19 infection, simply because the leadership of our house headed by Hon. Chiji Collins was not proactive and alive to his responsibilities. It is a fact that before the house was shut, the speaker was not sensitive to the basic needs of the house, as common as providing individual members microphones for use at plenary.
“Further, rather than prevail on the executive to pay emoluments of lawmakers so that infected members could adequately take care of their medical needs to fight off the virus, the speaker is only after the huge sums of money he covets monthly as votes and running cost.
“Do not forget that the character of a House of Assembly is defined by its leadership. Should we fail the masses of our constituencies who repose confidence in us, just because an inept leader continues to hold sway as Speaker of our 9th Assembly?”
Ugboma confirmed that already, himself and 21 other members were waiting for the house to reconvened to begin the process of impeachment of the Speaker.
On the allegations by the speaker that former governor, Emeka Ihedioha was sponsoring his impeachment in order to impeach Governor Hope Uzodimma, Ugboma described it as “obviously empanelled lies by those who desperately seek the governor’s attention.”
“I mean, it is a well calculated crap to sacrifice the image and the good relationship existing between the 9th House and the Executive Governor of Imo State, Senator Hope Uzodinma by hangers-on and blackmailers.
“They are those who feel and continue to sacrifice colleagues and the 9th House for a porrage of yam. It is evident that someone somewhere is sinking very fast and now on a face saving episonage and feels that causing disharmony between the 9th House and Senator Hope Uzodinma would rescue him from self destruction.
“Those who are on the inevitable verge of sinking should sink and stop making caricature of legislative businesses. They should stop dragging the governor into their mess. They inflicted the mess on themselves and should therefore find a way to amend their very embarrassing ways”, Ugboma said.
When contacted, Emeka Ahaneku, the media assistant to the speaker, described the move as the voice of the opposition whose interest was to get at the governor.
However, he said that those championing the move did not have the capacity to impeach the speaker because few people who had joined them have backed out for fear of being suspended by the house when it resumes.
Ahaneku noted further that the lawmakers involved are few and are only seeking attention of the governor to call them for settlement, “it’s all about cash”.
It would be recalled that the Speaker had fingered former governor Emeka Ihedioha to be behind the impeachment plot.