A suspended member of the Imo State House of Assembly, Hon. Obinna Okwara has berated the adhoc committee investigating allegations against him and others for claiming that they refused to appear before it.
Okwara, who spoke to reporters at his home in Nkwerre, Nkwerre Local Government Area of the state on Monday accused the Chairman of the committee, Kanayo Onyemaechi of lying against them.
The former Chief Whip of the House insisted that it was wrong for the chairman of the committee to give the impression that they (suspended members) have forgotten they are holding the mandate of the people.
He warned against attempt to give a dog a bad name in order to hang it, saying it is tantamount to a calculated attempt to tarnish their image and whittle down the confidence of their constituents in them.
Okwara however assured that such effort at running them down was dead on arrival because their constituents still believe in them.
He insisted that there was never a time they were invited by the committee and challenged whoever that says otherwise to come forth with proof.
He decried the level of misinformation to smear their image by Onyemaechi, member representing Owerri-West Constituency.
He said; “This whole thing is becoming childish. Lies upon lies. Six suspended lawmakers shun House Committee; when was the committee set up? I think the Committee is supposed to invite the members of the House you intend to investigate, so to speak. Now, I do not know when I turned to witch or wizard to know that something was set up. Something that was set up and it was not in the Hansard of the State House of Assembly. It was not mentioned”.
“Now you are saying that we did not present ourselves to the Probe Committee. Blatant lies. Why all the lies? It’s like giving a dog bad name just to hang it. If you set up a Committee, the Committee should invite whoever is involved to interface with the Committee.
“The person will not stay in his house to know that there was a Committee set up or that he was supposed to appear before the Committee. I challenge them to come forth with proof of invitation and acknowledgement.
“I also wondered how I will be invited and I will refuse to appear especially when I am eager to know the reason for the suspension because I’m still confused. My Constituents of more than 200,000 citizens are also confused. These are all lies. So they should stop all these. Let’s behave like adults. We should face things like lawmakers that we are and do things under rules. Let’s follow the rules.
“Well, it is not a Mickey Mouse, neither is it a House of Commotion. The Assembly is a legislative arm of government but everything is being done like a kangaroo House. I weep for our generation. I weep for the 9th Assembly.”
Okwara was suspended alongside Arthur Egwim (Ideato North) and Ngozi Obiefule (Isu) on December 23, 2021 over alleged dereliction of duty.
Earlier, the House had suspended Paul Emeziem, former speaker; Okey Onyekanma, former deputy speaker and Ekene Nnodumele (Orsu) over alleged un-parliamentary conduct.
Okwara who represents Nkwerre Constituency said he never neglected his legislative duty, hinting that his suspension was rather political.
The lawmaker who said he is not a member of the Budget and Appropriation Committee disclosed that he was present at the presentation of the fiscal proposals by the governor and passage of the budget estimates after review by the Committee of the Whole.