By Chidi Nkwopara
OWERRI—Barring any unforeseen circumstances, Imo lawmakers may commence impeachment proceedings against Governor Rochas Okorocha next Thursday, if he fails to clear their outstanding salaries and allowances which he had allegedly withheld since 2011, among other grievances.
Vanguard had earlier reported that the lawmakers are particularly irked that despite spirited attempt to make Okorocha clear the bill, he had failed to do the needful.
A close aide of one of the lawmakers confirmed that before the current threat, the lawmakers had been having series of meetings on how to make Okorocha pay them their salary arrears, adding that the build up was concluded Friday, July 25, 2014.
The lawmakers are said to have vowed not to accept any payment which is not inform of cash, adding that “if the speaker stands in the way, he would be bulldozed along with the governor.”
When anxious journalists contacted the Senior Special Assistant, SSA, to the Governor on Media, Mr. Sam Onwuemeodo, he dismissed the allegation, saying Okorocha had a good relationship with members of the state assembly.
“There is no iota of truth that such a thing was in the offing. 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. How can they impeach a governor who is performing. It’s not true my brother,” he said.
Reacting also, the House Committee Chairman on Information, Mr. Acho Ihim, dismissed the alleged impeachment plot, describing it as “baseless and malicious”.
Ihim, however, confirmed the disparity in the salary of the current lawmakers and the former ones, adding that “during the last administration of Chief Ikedi Ohakim, the House took a loan and it was deducted monthly from the salary of the lawmakers so when we came in, the Clerk of the House was changed and the new one who was ignorant of any such deductions, started paying with the records he met on ground.
“When it was discovered, we quickly wrote the governor who promised to reverse to the constitutional rate and he has started doing that.
“For instance, we were paid normal salary for the month of 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,” Ihim explained.