Editorial

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Imo Legislature and Uwajumogu Controversy

In the last three months, the issue of the Imo state House of Assembly and particularly its leadership headed by Speaker Benjamin Uwajumogu has dominated the media.
Unfortunately, it is an issue which relates to allegations of fraudulent activities that are said to have revolved around the office of the speaker.
Again rather than be an issue of inability of the Legislature to perform its constitutional role effectively and competently, it has been an issue of misapplication and misappropriation of funds.
Regrettably, this allegation and counter allegations came at the heels of the redoployment and resignation of the former Special Adviser to the Speaker on Media, Citizen Samuelson Iwuoha.
However, rather than find a way of cooling all the flexing nerves, some busy bodies have formed and constituted themselves into counsel to both the accuser and the accused at no fee.
Because they were not hired by anybody to defend him in the entire episode, most of them have wittingly or unwittingly caused more harm than solve the problem because of their overzealousness.
To worsen the matter is the fact that none of the defenders and pro-Speaker Uwajumogu have asked themselves such question like, what is the borne of contention after all? Is the Legislature now doing the job of the executive as it relates to application and appropriation of funds as well as in the award of contracts?
Be that as it may, we strongly maintain that the Imo state House of Assembly particularly its Leadership should blame itself for whatever negative attack it is getting currently.
This is simply because, our legislators deviated from their constitutionsl law making function to that of contract awarding and execution. Granted that the constitution allows them that responsibility of oversight function, but oy does not translate to contract awarding and execution.
However, we are of the opinion that Imo people have heard enough of this distraction from the legislators which has by extension incapacitated their functions and responsibility to the masses.
Granted that the alleged fraud should be of interest to Imo people since it is their collective wealth that is being squandered, it is instructive that these Mercenaries in the pen profession should think twice by giving peace a chance.
If actually there are allegations which should be substantiated by anybody or group, the law and the law enforcement agencies are there to take care of the matter. The issue cannot and will not be solved in the pages of the Newspapers or in the facebook.
We believe that even as individuals and concerned citizens that the law courts are there ready to handle such matters. But for our legislators to be idling away in the pretence that there is anarchy in the zoo is a disservice to Imo People and should not be condoned any more.
Imo Trumpeta has no special or personal interest in the episode rather, the stake is that the right thing should be done at the right time and through the proper channels as there is yet no victor no vanquish in the debacle.
We vividly remembered the days of Hon Earnest Ibejiako in the Imo state House of Assembly when he described some of his men colleagues as “he she men” because of their inconsistencies on issues of importance.
The Speaker of the State House of Assembly is only but an equal among equals. Therefore, if his colleagues cannot muster the courage to confront him on any controversial issue, then they should blame themselves and stop crying wikf or better still, they should forget it all.

Imo Assembly In Another Movie Episode
In the recent past, the speaker of the Imo State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Uwajumogu has been in the eye of the storm following chilly revelation made by his former media aide, Citizen Ikenna Samuelson Iwuoha of alleged fraudulent activities that have been going on in the office of the speaker, allegedly spear headed by the speaker, Chief of staff, kodichi Anamekwe and the acting media aide to the speaker, Emeka Ahaneku. The allegations of Samuelson are no longer background whispers and gossips but public discourse as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has been invited to investigate the allegations.
The allegations leveled against the office of the speaker have thrown up constitutional and moral questions on the Rescue Mission Government led by Rochas Okorocha, especially on the alleged award of road contracts by the office of the speaker. A big question mark has been placed on the honesty and sincerity of the government with regards to the lyries of the Imo anthem, “Rule Of Law In Our Time”, one begins to wonder when the actors in the government went outside the provisions of the constitution to act contrary. Then how could it be juxtaposed? To me, that Imo anthem is one of the acts of showmanship of the Rescue Mission government to blindfold those who refused to allow the wool pulled over their eyes to be removed.
Following the dust generated by the allegations of Citizen Ikenna Samuelson, the House in its plenary of Thursday, 27th March, setup a panel to investigate alleged fraudulent activities that took place in the office of the speaker. The big questions that have been agitating my mind since the news of the probe was; why did it take the House such a long time to constitute the panel in view of inexcusable adjournments of the sittings of the House? How sincere and unbiased would the panel be, since the accused is still at the helm of affairs?
Is it not to divert attention and a ploy to provide escape route for the speaker from being impeached? Will this investigation not go the way of other investigations of alleged fraud before the House? If space permits one of such allegations would be mentioned. Looking at the composition of the panel and the manner they emerged gives room for question. A situation whereby the mover of the motion to setup the panel, Hon. Ikenna Emeh and the seconder, Hon. Obioma Ekennia are appointed chairman and member of the panel respectively is gloringly questionable. A critical look of the antecedents, pedigree and personality of the members especially the chairman, one would not be entirely wrong to conclude that the reports and recommendations of the panel would give the speaker a clean bill of health despite the overwhelming evidence provided, if at all, the report would see the light of the day. Hon. Ikenna Emeh, who represents Isu State constituency though elected on the platform of the PDP is absolutely Rescue Mission compliant and anybody who is familiar with the present House will acknowledge that he is one of the favorites of this administration.
During plenary, the speaker, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Uwajumogu in lighter moods often describe him as ” Consultant To The State Government” and I am convinced beyond every reasonable doubt that he has been once again engaged by the state government for another consulting service.
With him in this present movies episode of the Imo State House of Assembly captioned; probe into the allegations of Samuelson Iwuoha against the office of the speaker, Rt. Hon Benjamin Uwajumogu, Hon. Ikenna Emeh will act as Uwajumogu’s knight in shining armour who would protect and absolve him of any complexities in the allegation owing to his persuasive and domineering character in any circle he found himself with reference to one report of an adhoc committee of House in which some of the members alleged that Hon. Emeh as the chairman of that committee unilaterally produced the reports and recommendations of that committee and due to the fact that some of the members of that committee were not push-overs disowned and dissociated themselves from the report and recommendations of that commit tee when it was debated at one of the committee of the whole House.
Back to my earlier mention of some reports of probe panels setup by the present House that have not seen the light of the day, one that vividly comes to mind was the petition to the House by Hon. Philip Uwazuruonye, former transition committee (TC) chairman of Nwangele Local Government Area against Hon. Tony Black Nduka, former TC chairman of Isiala Mbano and then state chairman, Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON) for alleged embezzlement of N229.5m from September 2008-January 2010. Rt. Hon. Benjamin Uwajumogu setup a 3 – man ad-hoc panel headed by Hon. Obinna Okwara with Hons. Samuel Anyanwu and Robertson Ekwebelem as members. To the best of my knowledge as an Assembly watcher, the reports and recommendation of that panel are yet to be made public, rather, what we saw was that, the accused in that petition hurled missiles at the former governor, Chief Ikedi Ohakim, the man who brought him to political limelight and he was later made the Director – General of Okigwe Peoples Progressive Movement, (OPPM) a political structure allegedly owned by Rt. Hon Benjamin Uwajumogu, maybe, the vilification of Ohakim by Tony Black Nduka and his acceptance to be the Director-General of OPPM are trade by barter in exchange for the report of the panel on alleged embezzlement against Tony Black Nduka. If allegation against a former government appointee in the last administration could not see the light of the day how are we sure that, the allegation against the person and office of the speaker would see the light of the day and if it is does, how are we sure that it is not doctored to favour the so called “high and mighty”?. Imolites are watching to see how”Imo State must be better” in the face of these alleged monumental fraud and corruption in government arena.

By Chidi Odor, 08060998847, E-MAIL:chidiodor@gmail.com