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Zuma Statue : Why We Can’t Impeach Okorocha – Imo Speaker, Acho Ihim *

The Speaker of the Imo State House of Assembly and President of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA), Dr. Acho Ihim, has declared that the legislature was not planning to initiate impeachment proceeding against the state governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha over his perceived financial recklessness in office...

Acho made the declaration while briefing newsmen on last weekend’s conference of Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, tagged: “African Region Conference” held in Owerri, Imo State capital.

Calls for Okorocha’s impeachment had reverberated across the state in the wake of his government’s controversial spending, especially the launching of Imo Airline and the recent erection of a giant statue of the South African President, Jacob Zuma, with many describing the state House of Assembly as an appendage of the state governor.

Reacting to the widespread demand for Okorocha’s sack, the speaker argued that his administration had performed better than many state governments and therefore deserve support and not sack.

“With his record of achievements in the state, why can’t the House support him? Must we impeach a working governor for people to know that we are not rubber stamps?”, he asked.

The speaker dismissed insinuations that the state’s legislative body is a mere rubber stamp for the Okorocha-led executive, arguing that it was grossly misleading for some individuals to misconstrue the cordial working relationship between the legislature and the executive as a sign of weakness on the former.

“The prevailing atmosphere of mutual tolerance and understanding between the two arms of government was a product of the impressive performance of the executive which had taken the bull by the horn to move the state forward, insisting that the legislature was not prepared to antagonize the executive just to score cheap popularity”.

According to him, those criticising the legislature under him are warring speakers and lawmakers in the past that did not leave any legacy in the state.

“To us in the legislature, it doesn’t make sense to impeach an over-working governor. Since his assumption of office in 2011, Owerri has changed from its small town to a metropolitan city where investments flow. If being a rubber stamp means continuous development, then so be it”, the speaker said.

Ihim, who represents Okigwe State Constituency, defended Okorocha over the controversial statue of the South African President, Jacobs Zuma in Owerri, saying that it was a product of a bill passed into law by the State Assembly which empowered the governor to accord recognition to any individual who has distinguished himself in his service to God and humanity across the globe.

“The only way to appreciate anybody who does well is to appreciate him when alive or dead,” he said.

He wondered why nobody raised an eyebrow when a similar honour was accorded the Ghanaian President Addo Akufo and Second Republic Vice President, Dr. Alex Ekwueme.

He explained that the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association came on board to enable the members share common experiences on how to move their countries forward, noting that such divisive issues as hate speeches emanating from IPOB, Arewa Youths Consultative Assembly and the Egbesu group had been effectively tackled.

He insisted that Governor Rochas Okorocha never erected a N500 million statue in honour of President Zuma as being rumoured, stating that the South African leader only visited the state because of his foundation, the Jacob Zuma Foundation.