Chidiebube Okeoma, Owerri
The disagreement between Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State and the 27 lawmakers on Thursday took a new dimension as the legislators suspended the Clerk of the House, Chris Duru.
The plenary was conducted in an atmosphere of tension and political pressure.
The lawmakers who sat for the first time since the disagreement between them and the governor became public knowledge, suspended the Clerk who was believed to be working for the governor and the Speaker, Acho Ihim.
At the resumed plenary after the lawmakers boycotted the proposed 2018 budget presentation by the governor, 22 out of the 27 lawmakers supported the motion which suspended the Clerk of the House with immediate effect.
The motion was moved by the majority leader, Lugard Osuji, who represents Owerri municipal state constituency.
The lawmakers suspended Duru for alleged “gross under-performance,” which they said was against their (lawmakers’) interest.
The Chief Press Secretary to the Speaker, Marcel Ekwezuo, told our correspondent that the legislators took the action because they believed their interest and that of the suspended Clerk were conflicting.
“The Clerk of the House, Chris Duru, was, at the plenary on Thursday, suspended by the lawmakers.
“The suspension was hinged on gross under-performance, which was viewed to be against the interest of the House.
“The motion was moved by the Majority Leader of the House, Lugard Osuji, and supported by 21 other lawmakers,” the CPS said.
On the allegation that the Clerk was suspended because he was believed to be the right hand man of the Speaker who they alleged was protecting the interest of the governor in the ongoing impasse, Ekwezuo simply retorted, “Not to my knowledge.”
Meanwhile, some of the lawmakers who spoke to our correspondent on strict condition of anonymity said the suspended Clerk “was growing wings.”
One of the lawmakers said, “The Clerk was growing wings. He sees himself as a more important person than the lawmakers.
“He opposes our instructions and thinks that he is untouchable.
“Chris Duru thought that because he was the liaison officer of the governor in the House and because of his closeness to the Speaker, he could work against the interest of the lawmakers and get away with it.”
Another lawmaker said that with the suspension of the Clerk, the lawmakers could now “move against the Speaker and the governor.”