The Imo State House of Assembly on Thursday, June 24 commended the state governor, Senator Hope Uzodimma for fully implementing financial autonomy of the state legislature.
The House however urged the governor to direct the Auditor-General of the state to pay directly into the account of the assembly and that of the Assembly Service Commission on monthly basis.
This followed the adoption of a motion moved by the Deputy Speaker, Hon. Chyna Iwuanyanwu, representing Nwangele Constituency and seconded by Hon. Chigozie Nwaneri, member representing Oru East Constituency.
Iwuanyanwu had while moving the motion noted that the Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria (PASAN) had embarked on strike over the non-implementation of financial autonomy of state legislatures in the country.
He observed that before the PASAN strike, Gov. Uzodimma had been implementing financial autonomy up to 80% by paying directly into the account of the legislature and allowing them to use the funds without interference.
He noted that at a time other governors in Nigeria were grappling with the issue of autonomy and finding it difficult to effect its implementation, Governor Uzodimma became the first to agree to its full implementation.
He therefore thanked PASAN for its role which he said has paid off.
Iwuanyanwu called the attention of his colleagues to the fact that Imo House of Assembly is now fully autonomous which means that they will be in charge of the finances and its management.
The motion which triggered heated debate on the floor of the House received support from members namely Johnson Duru (Ideato South), Kanayo Onyemaechi (Owerri West), Chigozie Nwaneri (Oru East) and Chiji Collins(Isiala Mbano) who described the action of the governor as a welcome development.
Collins added that autonomy obtained under him as speaker, saying that funds were given to him for disbursement without interference.
The motion however received strong opposition from Solomon Anukam (Owerri Municipal) and Anyadike Nwosu (Ezinihitte Mbaise) who maintained that due process must be followed to give the autonomy a legal backing.
Anukam said; “There is no autonomy yet’ before the speaker, Hon. Paul Emeziem asked him to sit down.
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When the speaker put the question to vote, the ayes had it.
Addressing the Assembly correspondents shortly after, the Chairman, House Committee on Information, Hon Johnson Duru thanked President Muhammadu Buhari and Governor Uzodimma for agreeing to the demand of PASAN.
Also speaking, Hon Iwuanyanwu said that the governor has approved step by step the procedural processes for the implementation of the autonomy, describing it as victory for democracy.