May 11, 2020 Steve Uzoechi OWERRI
In a suspected move to influence outcome of a probe of controversial N19.63billion Local Government fund allegedly misappropriated by the outgone People’s Democratic Party (PDP) government in the state, the All Progressive Congress (APC) may have commenced moves to hijack the probe.
This followed an alleged clear violation of parliamentary convention and the House rule which dictated that the headship of the Public Accounts Committee of the House should be occupied by a member of the minority parties.
Presently, this is not the case in the Imo State House of Assembly as the Committee is being chaired by a member of the ruling APC in clear violation of laid down rules of the House.
The Public Accounts Committee is however saddled with the task of probing N19.63billion Local Government funds which the Uzodinma administration alleged was mismanaged by the outgone PDP administration of Hon. Emeka Ihedioha.
Consequently, lawmakers of PDP extraction had petitioned Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Rt Hon.Chiji Collins, kicking against the perceived high-handedness while pointing out that by convention in Nigeria and across the world “the Headship of the public accounts Committee is reserved for the minority party.”
The memo was jointly signed by Hon. Anyadike Nwosu, Minority leader/Member representing Ezinihitte State Constituency, Mr. Frank Ugboma, Deputy Minority leader/member, representing Oguta State Constituency; Hon.Solomon Anukam, Minority whip/member representing Owerri municipal state Constituency; Hon.Phillip Ejiogu, Deputy Minority whip/member Owerri North State Constituency and two other PDP lawmakers.
The document which was dated 4th May, 2020 reads: “Mr. Speaker, it is important to inform you that by the convention in Nigeria and worldwide; the Headship of the public accounts Committee is reserved for the minority party
“This is to ensure consolidation of democratic practices and accountability in administration and running of the government. It is regrettable that Imo State is yet to comply with this parliamentary convention.
“Mr. Speaker sir, I implore you to percieve this from the point of universal practice and the enhancement of legislative democracy and toe the line of wisdom by appointing a member of the minority party as Chairman of the Public Accounts Commitee as Imo State cannot be an exception.
“The document also cited further violation of House rules as captured in Order XVIII Rule 113 (6) (A) (B) (C) and (D) which stipulates that reports to be considered must be laid before the House of Assembly
“In the ongoing investigation, we did not comply with our rules. I therefore urge you to use your good office as the Chief interpreter of our rules to do justice by appointing the Minority leader as Chairman of PAC and redirect for the compliance to our rules.”