It loomed. It rumoured. It was denied. Many times the target was dodgy. The wind blew many times. Unexpectedly last Friday the rain fell and swept away the Rt. Hon Chiji Collins as the Speaker of the Imo State House of Assembly. It was a coup hatched by its members and masterfully executed. Tongues had wagged for and against it.
And so the political activity in Imo State got jolted by the weekend with the possibility of reordering the political landscape all things being equal. Imo has a new Speaker in the person of Rt Hon Paul Emeziem. The deposition of the Speaker has gone down into history as another dark moment when the lawmakers could not manage their affairs honourably.
For much of his tenure the former Speaker fought off many battles ranging from alleged certificate forgery, compromise of house rules, hobnobbing with the executive, to lack of protecting the Assemblymen. It was not surprising to many that he was ousted because of the threat to do so never ceased coming.
It is not quite clear what actually broke the camels back because there are myriads of issues hunting the Isiala Mbano lawmaker. What is popularly trending is that he was caught in the crossfire romancing between two powerful political giants enjoying unfriendly relationships for which he has to pay dearly for.
Reactions trailing the saga indicate that majority of Imolites welcome the development and appear happy for it. The political climate in the state since the inception of this administration does not appear encouraging for meaningful development. The roles of the Speaker appear abdicated in reigning in the executive who wields the executorial powers that impinge on the welfare of the people.
Little wonder the celebrations and cheering that greeted the news. He was clearly not on the side of the people and played into the hands of the executive who used him as a tool to score goals and achieve their selfish objectives.
Need we recall that the practice of democracy is anchored on the three pillars of Legislature, Executive and the Judiciary? The checks and balances provided by each against the other help to stabilize the polity and guarantee good governance and improved welfare for the people governed.
It must be stated without fear of equivocation that this was clearly absent in the practice of democracy in the state. It cannot be vouched that the Imo legislature played any oversight function on the executive. They were more like a rubber stamp and validation came when the legislators themselves began to move against the deposed Speaker for turning himself a mouthpiece of the executive on issues that clearly weighed against the government.
It would be recalled that once when the government owed the legislators their salaries and allowances the executive lied that they have been paid and the Speaker affirmed the same when it was not the fact. It left many in doubt over whose interest he served and where his loyalty lies.
Edge Express wishes to draw attention to the sanctity of the independence of the three-arm of government which is not respected. Effort has been made to achieve this but sadly it is only observed in the breach. There can never be independent of the legislature when they are relying on the executives for their emoluments. That alone provides the opportunity of arm twisting them.
We cannot but advise that the new Speaker learn from the experiences of the past. Being a first-timer who was chosen and made “King” over more qualified ones speaks volume on the level of the trust reposed in him. He cannot, therefore, bungle the opportunity of writing his name in gold.
We wish him well and wish to drum it louder into his consciousness that he should continually remember that he has over 5m Imo people queuing behind him as the leader of the people. Whatever he seeks to do should be something that will gratify the hearts of the majority Imolites. So much has been given to him and so much is therefore expected.