UNPAID WAGES: Imo Lawmakers prepare to rumble with Okorocha.

IMHABarely two weeks after the impeachment of Adamawa State Governor Murtala Nyako and the sack notice given to Nasarawa State Governor Tanko Al-Makura a week ago, both of the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC), their colleague in Imo State, Owelle Rochas Okorocha is being threatened to be removed by the state lawmakers.In Al-Makura’s case, the House of Assembly has asked the state’s Chief Judge, Justice Suleiman U. Dikko to raise a seven-member panel to investigate alleged allegations of misconduct against him, he did that at the weekend.

In Imo State also at the weekend, there was tension as members of the Assembly vowed to commence impeachment proceedings against Owelle Okorocha for allegedly with­holding their entitlements since he became governor in 2011.

A competent source told Daily Sun at the weekend that the state legisla­tors who are scheduled to return on September 9 are spoiling for a show­down with Governor Okorocha if he fails to pay them the arrears of their entitlements of about N420million, The lawmakers said they would have no choice, but to commence Okoro­cha’s impeachment.

According to the source, the lawmakers held another meeting last Friday where they resolved to use any legal means including the threat of impeachment to force Governor Okorocha pay them.

“At the last meeting of the lawmak­ers last Friday, July 25, they resolved that they must use whatever legal means to collect their entitlements which Governor Okorocha has refused to pay them since he assumed office in 2011 in the name of Rescue Mission. Before this time, the legislators have made several appeals to the governor through the leadership of the House that lawmakers have to be paid their allowances and the alleged slashing of their salaries by the governor to fund his free education programme since 2011”.

Although, the Speaker, Hon. Benjamin Uwajimogu and his deputy, Donatus Ozoemena, were said not to be part of the alleged plan by the 24 out of the 26 lawmakers excluding Oguta constituency where election matter is still pending in court, the lawmakers were united in their resolve to impeach Okorocha.

They have also vowed not to accept any payment which is not cash and they are also determined to equally impeach the Speaker should he stand on their path.

“If the Speaker stands in the way, he is going to be bulldozed along with the governor, anything short of cash will not be acceptable” the source said.

Meanwhile, the Chairman of the House Committee on Information, Hon. Acho Ihim, has dismissed the alleged impeachment plot, describing it as baseless and malicious.

He, however, confirmed the dispar­ity in the salary of the current lawmak­ers and their predecessors.

He said, “during the administration of Chief Ikedi Ohakim, the House took a loan and it was deducted monthly from the salaries of lawmak­ers, so when we came in, the Clerk of the House was changed and a new on who was not properly briefed about the loan repayment, started paying with the records he met on ground.

According to him, when it was discovered, we quickly wrote the governor, who promised to intervene and he has done that. For instance, we were paid normal salary in June. The governor is ready to pay, all he is ask­ing for is a little time because the mon­ey is much. It is about N18 million per lawmaker. It is true that there could be agitation, but it has not amounted to impeaching anybody”.
Similarly, Mr. Sam Onwuemeodo, Senior Special Assistant (Media) to Okorocha, dismissed the allegation, saying the governor has a cordial relationship with members of the As­sembly.

“How can it be true, there is no such thing, you can verify from the Assem­bly members, the state government has a good working relationship with them and I don’t think anybody is plotting any impeachment, for what, on a gov­ernor who is performing, it is not true my brother,” Onwuemeodo said.

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