On the 14th of September 2011, the Rt. Hon. BenjaminUwajumogu will clock 100 days in office as the Speaker of Imo State House of Assembly. No doubt, it is too short a time to access or evaluate the legislative activities of the Imo State House of Assembly.
But because it has become a tradition in Nigeria since 1999 to use the first 100 in office of any arm of government to access such leadership, I deem it necessary to open the minds of Imo citizens in particular and Nigerians in general on the achievements of the present Imo State House of Assembly under the able and visionary leadership of Rt. Hon. Benjamin Chukwuemeka Uwajumogu.
Following the inauguration on the 7th of June 2011 of the fifth house, third assembly, first session of the present Imo State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon Benjamin Chukwuemeka Uwajumogu emerged as the Speaker while Hon. Donatus Ozoemena became the deputy speaker. The post of majority leader went to Hon. Mrs. Adaku Ihuoma while Hon. Dr. Acho Ihim clinched the post of deputy majority leader. Other officers of the house as elected were the minority leader, Hon (mrs) Ngozi Pat Ekeji, deputy minority leader went to Hon. Robertson Ekwebelem. The Chief whip is Hon Ugonma Ozurigbo while his deputy is Hon Sir Emeka Nwafor as the post of minority whip went to Hon. Barr. Obinna Okwara. With the leadership of the House fully inaugurated, the Imo state House of Assembly kicked off its legislature responsibilities to the people of the state.
In his inaugural speech, Rt. Hon. Uwajumogu identified three areas yearning for immediate attention such as, (1).Service to the people (2) the executive arm. (3) The legislature.
“It is with humility and profound sense of honour that I accept the position of the speaker of Imo State House of Assembly. I will devote my time, energy and everything within my legislative powers to make Imo State House of Assembly the best legislature in the country. I will work tirelessly towards the upliftment of Imo State House of Assembly. I promise to give you all, with a true sense of quality leadership, equal representation and effective disposition to work…..”
100 days after this famous quote from the ebullient speaker, he has lived up to expectations because he has not only devoted his energy and time towards the upliftment of the Assembly, but he has also led his equally vibrant Honorable colleagues to enact people oriented laws, bills and motions through effective and efficient legislative responsibilities which has put back confidence, trust and smiles on the faces of Imo citizens in the bid to bring to the grassroots the impact of the “Rescue Mission” of the government of His Excellency Owelle Rochas Anayo Ethelberth Okorocha (OON). During the period under review, the Imo State House of Assembly considered a total of seven (7) bills which were presented at the floor of the house. It is important to mention here that out of these seven bills, five are at committee stages awaiting reading, while two are at second reading stages.
Also the house recorded thirty four (34) Motions during the same period. From this figure, 20 motions were passed and forwarded to the executive Governor for necessary action. Similarly, out of the total number of motions, 9 are still pending, one (1) withdrawn, two (2) negatived and two (2) others adjourned sine die. It is worthy to note that presently, eight bills were on notice and would soon begin the legislature journey for passage into law. At this point, it is expedient to mention that the Imo State House of Assembly led by the ebullient speaker, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Uwajumogu is working harmoniously with the executive arm of government in one spirit through synergistic understanding to ensure the provision of dividends of democracy. This has been possible because there is an enabling environment where law makers ventilate their minds through robust legislative dialogue, debate and discussion which has really integrated, incorporated, inculcated and aggregated the interest of their respective constituencies. This is the relevance of politics.
Rt. Hon. Benjamin Uwajumogu and his colleagues have not only sacrificed some of their rights and privileges to ensure the smooth take-of the present administration, they have also personally financed the furnishing of their offices due to the lean resources of the state government. This should be applauded. Equally, it is instructive to note that currently the Imo State House of Assembly complex is undergoing renovation and face lift. Constructions of more administrative and political offices are going on. Leaking roofs are also being put in order. Previous leadership of the house abandoned the complex to so dilapidate that the structure became an eyesore. But NOW the Assembly building complex is beginning to wear a new look.
Also, to ensure a virile, responsible and responsive government machinery that will drive development at the state and local levels, the Imo State House of Assembly screened and confirmed the appointment of Commissioners, Special Advisers and local government transition committee chairmen.
In order to ensure integrated development in the spirit of rescue mission agenda, the Imo State House of Assembly granted approval for His Excellency the state Governor, to declare emergency on road rehabilitation, education, health, housing, security and other critical areas seeking urgent attention. Accordingly, the House approved N5 billion naira for the urgent execution of the aforementioned projects and programmes. It is also worthy to mention that the Speaker has piloted the affairs of IMHA because he has an effective and efficient standing house committee being chaired by his able colleagues.
These various houses committee of the legislature carried out oversight functions within the legislative 100 days by ensuring monitoring of the aforementioned projects and the implementation of both the state and the 27 local government 2011 annual budget. Some of these committee’s are as follows;
1. Finance committee 2. Humanitarian services, Human Rights and NGO’s committee. 3. Committee on Commence and Industry. 4. Information, due process and inter-parliamentary affairs committee. 5. Budget and Appropriation committee. 6. Works, Housing and Transport committee. 7. Anti-corruption, Petition, Ethics and Privileges committee. 8. Project Monitoring and Evaluation committee. 9. House Services Committee. 10. Health and sanitation committee. 11. Public Utilities and Rural Development committee. 12. Women Affairs, Social Development, Youth and Sports committee. 13. Lands, survey and urban committee. 14. Judiciary committee. 15. Education committee. 16. Millennium Development Goals committee. 17. Environment committee. 18. Delta Affairs committee. 19. Petroleum and ISOPADEC committee. 20. Agricultural and National Resources committee. 21. Public Accounts committee. 22. Local Government, Chieftaincy and Autonomous Communities committee. 23. Religious Affairs committee. 24. Culture and tourism committee. 25. Civil Service Matters committee. 26. Business and rules committee, amongst others.
Conversely, the Honorable members led by the Speaker have performed their oversight functions most creditably to the admiration of majority of Imo Citizens in particular and Nigerians in general. It is therefore not surprising that after 100 days the Rt. Hon. Benjamin Uwajumogu assumed the leadership of the legislature, the activities of the House have impacted positively on the lives of the people of IMO STATE, hence the various accolades received by the speaker in particular and members of the legislature generally. For instance, during the just concluded four day children’s art festival, held in Owerri to mark the International Children’s Day, the National Commission for Museums and Monument, in Association with Alliance Francaise, and some Non – Governmental Organizations, NGO, presented the Speaker an award for Excellence and Philanthropy. Also during the recent visit to the House by the leadership of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria, ICAN, its National President, Prof. Francis Ojaide, said the association came to thank the Assembly members for the able ways they have piloted the legislative arm of the government in the state. According to the 47th President of ICAN, the Imo State Government had through the activities of the Assembly led by Rt. Hon. Benjamin Uwajumogu proved that it was determined to wipe out tears from the faces of the people of Imo State.
The House has also received praises from the traditional institution for making a remarkable difference in the area of law – making in the short-space-of-time it has been in existence. For instance, on August 21, 2011, when Speaker Uwajumogu attended the popular Iri-ji Nkwerre, alongside other House leaders, the Eshi of Nkwerre, His Royal Highness, Eze Dr. Chijioke Okwara commended the ebullient Speaker for the able ways the Imo State House of Assembly, was being run. Commendations from other Professional bodies ,Nationally and Internationally for Speaker Uwajumogu are too numerous to mention here. Nonetheless, let me state it categorically that the activities of Imo State House of Assembly can be accessed on the Internet, Face books, Blogs, National Newspapers, Regional Newspapers, Local Newspapers, Radio and Television.
From the above analysis, it is evident that the Imo State House of Assembly under the proactive and visionary leadership of Rt. Hon. Benjamin Uwajumogu is desirous to take Imo state legislatively to the next level. This is the Verdict.
Citizen Ikenna Samuelson Iwuoha,
Special Adviser on Media To the Rt. Hon. Speaker, IMHA