A crack has managed to appear in the highly united Rivers State House of Assembly where a member has asked for the resignation of the speaker over N600m he said the governor gave to the House to do renovations.
The member representing Ahoada East constituency One, Martins Mannah, has therefore called for the resignation of the speaker Ikuinyi Uwaji Ibani, for allegedly mismanaging the affairs of the House and failing to cater for the welfare of staff of the assembly. His major grouse is that despite the N600m, the House of Assembly complex and the staff quarters have not received a brush.
The lawmaker while briefing journalists in his office after plenary on May 14, 2018, lamented over what he termed the absence of adequate training and workshops for lawmakers. He said this has affected their performance.
He stated; “Over 80 per cent of the members of this Assembly are new and as a legislature we are expected to go for seminars, workshops, and conventions to improve our capacity. Unfortunately, since we resumed, this is our third year, we have only travelled once for the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) meeting. We have only gone for only one seminar, whereas other states that produce only onions and water melon are able to sponsor their lawmakers to all seminars, workshops, and CPA meetings, even to foreign countries.”
Mannah went on: “The speaker has failed to deliver these trainings to members. Now, as new members, how do we contribute on the floor of the House when we have not been adequately trained? Some members do not even know how to move motions.”
The lawmaker also complained that for 17 months staff members at the assembly have not been paid. He also lamented over the level of decay at both the Assembly complex and staff residential quarters
Hear him: “For 17 months staff have not been paid; our staff have literally turned to beggars. This edifice was built by former governor Peter Odili, yet cannot be maintained by this speaker. Even when the present governor, Nyesom Wike, gave N600m to the speaker to renovate both the quarters and the complex, the speaker never did it. Look at how the complex is in a mess, everywhere smells; then someone would ask us not to talk.”
The member said; “So today I felt that while we are talking about the protection of Rivers people against the Federal Government, there is also need for us to remove the wood in our own eyes before removing the spec in other people’s eyes”
According to the aggrieved member; “If this is what we have to offer, I want to dissociate myself from this kind of Assembly. This is not a proper Assembly. We have three arms of government; the executive is functioning very well, the judiciary is functioning very well, but look at the Rivers State House of Assembly, is this actually an assembly? Most people don’t even know their left from their right. We have kept quiet for too long and now the tenure is ending, nothing has been achieved. The only thing we know how to do is when the governor sends bills, we deliberate on the governor’s request and that is all. It is bothering me.”
He noted thus: “If the speaker knows that he is not competent to lead this House, because we cannot come here and fail because of one man’s lackadaisical attitude, if he knows that he can not pilot this House, he should honorably resign and let another man takeover.”
The Rivers parliament has been tightly knit under Gov Nyesom Wike, helped by their need to withstand the fight against the former governor’s camp backed by federal might. Now, that closeness may be falling apart and could be exploited by rival political party in the state in the endless political fight for control of the soul of Rivers State.
Observers say they are hopeful of the ability of the governor to rein back every group to the fold to maintain unity as the primaries and elections draw closer.