Few days ago, precisely on Friday the 1st of December 2017, news went round that the Clerk of the Imo State House of Assembly; Chief Chris Duru has been suspended from Office. Naturally, the first thing that came to my mind was; what wrong did the Clerk do?
Newspaper publications and radio announcement have it that the Majority Leader of the Assembly, Hon. Lugard Osuji moved the Motion for the suspension of the Clerk. The Clerk was accused of “under-performance and non-compliance‘’to certain laid down rules and procedures of the House in the discharge of his duties. Also, a 5-Man Committee led by Hon. Kennedy Ibeh (Obowo State Constituency) has been set up by Speaker Acho Ihim, to investigate activities of the suspended Clerk, beginning from 2011 to date.
As an authority in the legislative arm of government, having served this State as the Senior Special Assistant on Media, and Senior Special Assistant on Special Duties at the Imo State House of Assembly, I found holes in the so called suspension of the Clerk of the House without following legislative due process. How do you Rate Performance, Under-performance, Compliance and Non-compliance of House Rules, in the Assembly? How did the House Members find the Clerk guilty before setting up a panel to investigate him? How come the so called investigation panel or committee will commence investigation into the activities of the Clerk from 2011, when about 90% of elected Honourable Members of the present House were not in the then Assembly? 24 out of the Present 27 members are new, having been elected in 2015 (four clear years difference). When has the duty of lawmakers include investigating the Clerk of the Assembly, who happens to be a civil servant? Are the functions of legislators no longer Law-making, Appropriation and Over-sight? Questions, Questions, Questions,
Nevertheless, I made up my mind to wade into the matter. So I called the mover of the Motion for the suspension of the Clerk, Hon. Lugard Osuji, who is also the Majority Leader. I reasoned with him, and he spoke to me in confidence on “Specific issues”. However, when I informed him that I was going to do an article on the subject matter, the majority leader became uncomfortable. But I allayed his fears. I also called the Clerk of the Assembly, Chief Chris Duru, and he gave me his own version of the whole issue at stake: I advised him accordingly.
Let me at this point advice our lawmakers at the Imo State House of Assembly to face their job of Lawmaking, Oversight and Appropriation. Investigating the Clerk of the Assembly is an indication that they (our lawmakers) are idle and indeed tired of lawmaking and other functions bestowed on them by the constitution. How many people oriented Bills and Motions have they passed? How effective is their Oversight function on the Executive Arm of Government. How are the Media Correspondents being taken care of by the leadership of the Assembly? Do the Correspondents receive their monthly stipends? What is the relationship between the Imo Assembly and the Publishers of Newspapers in the state? How is the leadership of the Assembly taking care of the Welfare of House of Assembly workers who are mostly civil servants? As an insider, who understands the ‘’Organogram and Orogrophy’’ of the Assembly, I will advice the leadership of the House to allow peace to reign. Hitting up the polity by an unnecessary investigation on the activities of the Clerk (Chief Chris Duru) is uncalled for. It is a mere witch hunting exercise, which will surely come to naught. It makes no meaning at all. Chief Chris Duru (Clerk) is an experienced administrator per excellence with proven record of service, integrity and credibility.
The way forward is for the Majority Leader of the Imo State House of Assembly, Hon. Lugard Osuji to withdraw his Motion which called for the suspension of the Clerk. This should be followed with the disbandment of the Kennedy Ibeh led 5-man committee by Rt. Hon. Dr. Acho Ihim. After all these are done, the Speaker should then summon the Clerk to appear at their “Executive Session” in his office, where issues among the Deputy Speaker, Majority Leader and the Clerk are amicably resolved. This is my honest advice. I will not be happy to see the current mis-understanding at the Imo State House of Assembly go beyond the stage it is presently.
My good friend and brother, Rt. Hon. Dr. Acho Ihim should assert himself and bring total sanity and indeed stability to the House. His Colleagues (other Honourable members) should not hold the state to ransom.
Let there be peace. Let there be peace. I repeat, let there be peace.
I rest my pen.