IMPEACHMENT FEVER FORCES IMO SPEAKER KEEP MACE IN PRIVATE CUSTODY
•AS DSS, POLICE, STERN LOOKING YOUTHS INVADE COMPLEX
There are strong indications that the Speaker of the Imo State House of Assembly, Rt Hon Chiji Collins is yet to get over the reported plot to remove him if what Assembly Vibes observed at the complex on Tuesday is anything to be taken serious.
The custodian and actual place to keep the Mace; the symbol of authority of the Imo State House of Assembly has opened up further suspicion that the impeachment saga that hovered around the complex for weeks before resumption of Plenary is still looming. This is because the Speaker unlike the conventional practice of keeping the Mace in the complex was spotted bringing out the item from his car before the plenary session of Tuesday.
An interesting scene was witnessed two days ago when the Mace was brought out from the official vehicle of the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Chiji Collins.
Before entering into the chambers for the day’s plenary session, one of the aides to the speaker, names withheld, in company of an unknown, tacky dressed young man accompanied him to the car trunk where they took the covered mace to the speaker’s office.
That act, which was spotted by many gave the Speaker away as one still scared by the impeachment plot and devising means to evade any attempt to remove him.
It was also rumoured that Chiji Collins may have decided to solely be in full custody of the mace as an only option to frustrate his colleagues from going ahead with their impeachment threats.
In a related development, there are strong indications that all is not well in the Imo State third arm of government, the legislature, if observations gathered by Trumpeta Newspaper are considered.
The members after few weeks of isolation because of the coronavirus pandemic are back to legislative business.
They resumed fully on Tuesday, but not without fresh developments and actions giving credence to ominous signs.
It would be recalled that recently, news of supposed resignation and impeachment of the speaker, Rt. Hon. Chiji Collins by his colleagues dominated the airwaves.
A major observation within the Assembly complex during the early hours of Tuesday were cold war signs amongst the members suggesting that all is not well.
First signal that discomfort is reigning in the complex was the time slated for commencement of the Plenary. Instead of the 10am time, proceedings commenced at 2:31pm.
While majority of the members were present and ready, the Speaker and Deputy Speaker were absent.
Few minutes to the arrival of the deputy speaker was the speaker’s convoy. The members finally converged in the office of one of the lawmakers of Orlu zone extraction after moving round.
Before entering into the chambers, Speaker Chiji was seen pacing round the corridors of his office. This behaviour attracted the attention of many.
Meanwhile, the complex was besieged by the presence of heavily armed security operatives, both men of the Department of State Security Service, Scorpion and Tiger groups of Men of the Nigeria Police Force.
Non uniformed men were also spotted at every corner but they departed after the plenary session.
Reasons for the tight security and unknown faces remain a thing of worry for both the newsmen and Assembly workers but cannot be divorced by the fear being expressed by the Speaker against the purported plans to impeach him.
HOW CORONAVIRUS FORCES IMO ASSEMBLY TO SLASH STATE’S 2020 BUDGET
Imo State House of Assembly has passed the 2020 appropriation bill into law, thereby cutting down on the earlier approved estimated budget.
This may not be unconnected to the outcry of the governor, Senator Hope Uzodinma over paucity of funds in the State necessitated by the Coronavirus pandemic.
In order to have some of the projects executed, and considering the amount in the State coffers, hence the amendment.
The Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha’s led 7-months administration in the State had in 2019 presented the 2020 fiscal year appropriation budget to the State Assembly.
The total budget was one hundred and ninety seven billion, seven hundred and ninety two million, six hundred and forty three thousand, two hundred and sixty seven naira (#197,792,643,267billion), only.
However, the Uzodinma’s regime had sought for a review which was finally passed on the last Tuesday’s plenary session.
Presenting the Executive bill, the Majority leader, Hon. Uche Ogbuagu explained that then approved budget became necessary to amend following the current economic situation.
It was tagged, “A bill for a law to review the 2020 Imo State of Nigeria appropriation law (Law No. 43 of 2019)”.
Ogbuagu argued that the pandemic has dashed all hopes at which it was approved ab initio, stressing that as it stands, the state deem it necessary to cut down some figures on some sections for availability sake.
Hence, the newly passed budget get down to a tone of one hundred and eight billion, three hundred and eighty five million, three hundred and thirty six thousand, one hundred and thirty naira (#108,385,836,130billion) only.
Some of the members who contributed to the debate Hononrables; Emeka Nduka, Eddy Obinna, Obinna Okwara, Kennedy Ibeh asserted that it was a realistic approach, which was holistically prepared with the current trend and economy.
“There is a great difference between last year and this year. There are great change, and we must consider that. It is better the State budget what is realizable than live iN fantasy”, they said.
However, the bill was assented by the governor, Senator Hope Uzodinma on Wednesday.
EX IMO SPEAKER, OPIAH OPENS UP, SAYS SYNERGY WITH OTHER ARMS BOOSTS ACCELERATED DEVELOPMENT
Activities of the Imo State House of Assembly have attracted the reaction of a former speaker, Rt. Hon. Goodluck Nanah Opiah, who gave insight concerning on the essence of law making.
Rt. Hon. Opiah represented Ohaji/Egbema state constituency, and held sway as the speaker from 2007-2011 during Chief Ikedi Ohakim’s administration.
In an interactive session with Trumpeta correspondent in Owerri over the weekend, the erstwhile parliamentarian said the IMHA under the leadership of Chiji Collins is doing it best as a House.
Even as he expressed displeasure rating the House in public judging by the fact that it was an arm of government he once headed, Opiah warned people not to misconstrue partnership or cordial relationship between the two arms.
Rt. Hon Opiah highlighted that the principle of separation of power doesn’t imply a brick wall between one and another.
According to him, “separation of power allows interconnectivity, inter-relationship, it allows for collaboration and cooperation.
The former Federal lawmaker that represented Ohaji/Egbema, Oru West and Oguta in the National Assembly opined that if the House completely isolate itself without recourse to other arms of government, development will be stiffened.
In his words, “Our people should note as a matter of fact that there is an urgent need for collaboration, cooperation and partnership between the Executive, Legislature and Judiciary; that is when you can have an accelerated development in the State without rancour”.
AT LAST, IMHA MOUNTS DISINFECTION MACHINE, APPLIES CAUTION
In line with best practices for Covid-19 protocol checks, the Imo State House of Assembly now has a thermometry disinfection channel entrance’.
This was mounted prior to the commencement of Tuesday’s plenary session.
Recall that the lawmakers had threatened never to return to the House until they have such facility meant to curtail spread of the dreaded disease.
One of the conditions was the installation of disinfection machine, among other health checks.
Against this backdrop, all was put in place and thoroughly screened before entrance. Both the lawmakers, Assembly Correspondents and workers including the Clerks before they are allowed into the chambers.
Not only that, Trumpeta Assembly Vibes watched with keen interest how all the microphones on the lawmakers’ desk functioned effectively, with the presentation of face masks and hand gloves to each of the lawmakers inside the chambers.
It would be recalled that out of suspected laxity on arising from carelessness, many of the lawmakers tested positive forcing the House to be shut for weeks to enable protective measures put in place while the the members undergo treatment.
LAWMAKERS EMBARK ON ANNUAL RECESS
Members of the State House of Assembly have commenced their annual recess.
This was made known at the end of Wednesday’s plenary session, after successfully passing two bills into law.
The Speaker, Chiji Collins after commending his colleagues of their steadfastness so far, and the recorded legislative achievements announced the commencement of their recess.
According to him, the House will resume on the 29th September, 2020.