There is palpable tension in Rivers State as the lawmaker representing Ahoada-East Constituency 1 in the Rivers State House of Assembly, Hon Martins Mannah, has called for the resignation of the Speaker of the House, Rt Hon Ikuinyi Owaji-Ibani, for allegedly mismanaging the affairs of the House.
The lawmaker, who is also a member of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which dominates the House of Assembly with 27 legislators, also alleged that the Speaker failed to cater for the welfare of staff of the Assembly.
Mannah, who spoke yesterday while briefing newsmen in his office in Port Harcourt, lamented the absence of adequate training and workshops for lawmakers which he noted had affected their performance.
He said, “This assembly, over 80% are new members and as a legislature we are expected to go for seminars, workshops and conventions to improve our capacity, but 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.
“The speaker has failed to deliver all this 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 at the assembly have not been paid while also lamenting the level of decay at both the assembly complex and staff residential quarters.
Mannah said, “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 the Speaker Ikuinyi Ibani.
“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 is smelling, then someone would ask us not to talk.
“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 worm in our own eyes before removing the one in other people’s eyes.
“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 so 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, so it is bothering me.
“If the Speaker knows that he is not competent to lead the House, because we cannot come here and fail because of one man’s lackadaisical attitude, if he knows that he cannot pilot this House, he should honorably resign let another man takeover.”
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