A group, Imo People’s Action for Democracy (IPAD) has lashed out at the Speaker, Imo State House of Assembly, Paul Emeziem for unilaterally suspending six members of the legislature on Thursday, July 8.
In a statement signed by its Coordinator, Marjorie Ezihe, IPAD described the speaker’s action as a show of an ‘unprecedented shame and a descent to authoritarianism’.
It wondered why the lawmakers could be visited with such impunity by the speaker for not breaching any rules of the House.
The group also upbraided the former Commissioner for Foreign and International Affairs in the state, Fabian Ihekweme for his stand that what happened was ‘normal in a democracy and part of our democratic growth and advancement’.
Ezihe said; “IPAD considers this action a strong testament of the failure and alienation of the leadership of the Imo State House of Assembly from the present realities in the state and the collective wish of citizens for peace, security and progressive development.
“It is the height of irresponsibility for a supposed legislative arm which should be the bastion of the state to degenerate to basal levels of gangsterism and touting, thereby making Imo the cynosure for negative primitive, narrative, world over…
“Further, the release by Fabian Ihekweme, former Commissioner for Foreign and International Affairs, in explaining what happened at the Imo State House of assembly as normal and not the unacceptable exception it is, whilst brazenly touting same as “part of our democratic growth and advancement” compels us to ask, what manner of growth and advancement is there in an obviously undemocratic action which oppressively seek to silence the collective voice of Imo citizens across six local government areas, which the 1996 population figure cumulatively sums up to one million, one hundred and fifteen thousand, six hundred and thirty-two (1,115,632).
“An action wholly repressive and undemocratic in conception and execution, speaks volumes of the disconnect and total lack of understanding of the role of the legislature in a democracy, and such persons have no business pretending to know what is good for Imolites.”
IPAD therefore called on the speaker to rescind the suspension as a first step in restoring the dignity and honour of the state legislature and apologize to the constituents of the suspended members for flagrantly abusing their fundamental rights.
It also requested the state Commissioner of Police, CP, Abutu Yaro to order an investigation into the shootout at the House with a view to establishing those behind the shooting.
IPAD advised the speaker to get down to the business of legislation instead of fanning escalation of violence and gangsterism in the state.
The speaker had at an emergency sitting of the House announced the suspension of six members of the House namely, Anyadike Nwosu (Ezinihitte Mbaise); Kennedy Ibeh (Obowo); Michael Onyemaechi Njoku (Ihitte-Uboma); Dominic Ezerioha (Oru West); Philip Ejiogu (Owerri North) and Uche Ogbuagu (Ikeduru).
He adduced what he termed the ‘unparliamentary conducts’ of the lawmakers as reason for their suspension.