Imo State Assembly and the burden of “Unparliamentary Conduct”

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Notes on “Unparliamentary Conduct”

by Francis Udoka Ndimkoha

So, in response to the poser I raised, the other day, about what constitutes Unparliamentary Conduct, as it concerns Imo State House of Assembly, my attention was drawn to this Channels TV interview with Hon. Barr. Innocent Arthur Egwim who was the Chief Whip of the Imo State House of Assembly, until the incidents of the last few days, which saw him being replaced by Hon. Barr. Obinna Okwara.

To say I am SHOCKTALIZED is to put it mildly.

You see, in an era where “tyrant” Buhari has given nod to all manner of autonomy, from Judiciary, to the Legislative and even to the Local Government, it is shocking to realize that validly elected members of the State House of Assembly are now at the mercy of the Speaker, a position, by my deductions from this interview, is actually occupied by the Deputy Speaker!

I have observed, in several fora, that the State Governor, Sen. Hope Uzodimma is wary of some of these people around him and their tendency of making enemies in his name. He has even openly pleaded for restraint in that regard, urging them rather to make more friends for the Government, in order to move the State forward.

How far this recent playlet in the State assembly goes to help stabilize the polity will manifest, surely, in due course. The burden of validating what constitutes Unparliamentary Conduct therefore lies on those who accuse.

The rumour making the rounds have it that the Speaker Rt. Hon. Paul Emeziem, feels insecure with the towering presence of ranking members from his zone, Imo North, such as Hon. Barr. Kennedy Ibeh and others, is grotesque and rather insufficient a reason to go on a suspension spree. And the demagoguery of Hon. Uche Ogbuagu can be better harnessed. His future ambition should not be a factor in his present mandate.

Efforts should be made, and urgently too, the reunite the House, recall suspended members as well as address the issues raised by members, especially that of welfare. It is a known fact that we practice a democracy where where legislators are expected to also build infrastructure and dole out cash to their constituents, as part of their “mandate”, thus, their welfare should be prioritized, as it is the only legitimate source of funding this expensive democratic habit. Unless of course, we prefer to have legislative contractors, who will rather flock around the Governor for jobs!

I really don’t think a member’s loyalty has a role to play in his legislative functions, rather, a member who gets his due, will naturally give loyalty to a system that is equitable and liberal.

By the way, the Imo State House of Assembly has been sitting in exile, for over two years, now, because the Assembly complex, which by the way, was “renovated” only 5 years ago, by the former Governor, is a total mess and in a derelict situation. One expects that the Speaker and his Deputy, Hon. Amara Iwuanyanwu would use their good office to ensure that the complex is fixed as soon as possible to enable the legislative business go on in a more conducive environment.

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