The Speaker of the Imo House of Assembly, Kennedy Ibeh, stated that the three members who were suspended on Thursday deserved to be punished because they neglected their responsibilities to the state in order to pursue personal interests. Ibeh further announced that the Ngor-Okpala constituency seat has been declared vacant due to absenteeism in the legislature.
The speaker said that “The suspension is to serve as a deterrent for the dereliction of duty by members who take the business of the parliament for granted,” in Owerri on Friday.
Arthur Egwim (APC-Ideato North), Ngozi Obiefule (APC-Isu), and Obinna Okwara (APC-Isu) have been suspended from the house (APC-Nkwerre).
Ibeh noted that the trio skipped a plenary session that had been scheduled to speed a review of the state’s budget predictions for 2022.
“The suspended members acted dishonourably by disregarding the resolution of the house to which they themselves gave nod and willingly committed themselves.
“Owing to the importance of the 2022 Appropriation Bill presented to the house on Dec,17,2022 by Governor Hope Uzodinma, the house unanimously decided to interface with Ministries Departments and Parastatals within three days,” he stated.
The national parliament made the choice to enable for a rapid approval of the bill, which requires full involvement and intellectual inputs from all members, according to the speaker.
Unfortunately, the suspended members ignored a vital state task to pursue their private companies, according to Ibeh.
The speaker also debunked claims of favouritism making the rounds in the state. He said “It is therefore frivolous and spurious for any of the affected members to bandy around the falsehood that he was suspended for attending burial ceremony.
“This claim becomes so spurious especially as not all the members who attended the said funeral were affected by the suspension,’’ he stated.
In other news, the Ngor-Okpala constituency seat has been declared empty by the house.
Since the house’s inception in 2019, the representative from Ngor-Okpala constituency, Tochi Okereke, has been missing from more than one-third of the sessions, according to the speaker.
He said that declaring the constituency seat empty was legal.
“Following a motion moved by the member representing Ideato South, the house went into full debate on the merits of the motion, the majority urged that the Ngor-Okpala constituency seat be declared vacant, owing to absenteeism,” he added.
The speaker emphasized that the assembly’s leadership had made it clear that the assembly would prioritize the interests of Imo people over all other considerations.