By Ifeanyi Onyekachi
When Rt. Hon.Barr. Kennedy Chidozie Ibeh, took over the mantle of leadership of Imo State House of Assembly (IMHA), in Nov. 8, 2021, he did not keep anybody in doubt about his willingness to serve Imo State House of Assembly in utmost good fate, fear of God and in total compliance with the constitutional provision of the federal republic and the House Rule.
Many who knew the Rt. Hon. Speaker for his compassion, empathy and temerity were not at a loss about his ability to marry justice, mercy, fairness and love in the discharge of the onerous responsibility.
No wonder on 23rd, Dec, when some honourable members who were very close to him erred in their conducts as parliamentarians, a section of the observing public were keen to know if the newly elected Speaker will renege on his promise of restoring discipline and job ethics to the House,
or whether he will pander to the side of emotion and sentiments.
The decision, however, was not difficult for him to make as he relied solely on constitutional provision and doing the right thing.
Having established wrong doing by the members, he carried out appropriate sanctions in line with extant laws. That action saw Rt Hon Arthur Egwim (Ideato North), Rt. Hon. Ngozi Obiefule (Isu) and Hon. Obinna Okwara (Nkwerre), suspended for un-parliamentary behaviour.
However, as a leader with a compassionate heart, he did not just issue the suspension according to the law, he opened a window of opportunity by setting up Investigation Committee for the lawmakers to ventilate their views.
Long after the committee was set up, the suspended members, for reasons best known to them, failed to approach the committee.
Though he was willing to recall the members, but was constrained by law because visit to the investigation committee was one of the legal condition for the suspension to be lifted. .
Overwhelmed by love and owing to the fact that he wanted his colleagues back to the House, in one of the plenaries, the Speaker asked the chairman about the committee’s report. Hon Kanayo Onyemaechi, Majority Leader and member representing Owerri West State Constituency, who is the chairman of the committee, reported that none of the members has approached the committee.
Rather than feel slighted or ignored, the Speaker, urged the Committee Chairman to continue to prevail on them. In fact, he requested that the chairman should reach out to them personally by transmitting a letter to them again.
No wonder, as soon as Rt. Hon. Barr. Arthur Egwim, one of the suspended members, took the bold step to do the needful and apologize to the House for his wrong doing, Mr. Speaker, in his usual loving character, did not waste time to admit him back into the fold of his colleagues, brothers and sisters-the hallow chamber.
The Speaker as always, tries to strike a balance between law and love.
That is why the declaration of the seat of Nkwerre State Constituency vacant by Mr. Speaker during plenary on Wednesday, followed absolute compliance to the relevant sections of the I999 constitution as amended and the House Rule.
It is not surprising therefore, that those who followed the process of the declaration described the action as “another demonstration of law and love”.
Mr. Speaker was not in a hurry to give nod to the motion moved by Hon. Blyden Amajirionwu, member representing Ngor Okpala State Constituency, which sought that the seat of Nkwerre State Constituency be declared vacant because the seat occupant, Hon Obinna Okwara, has flouted Section 109 of the constitution of the federal republic by defecting to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The Rt Hon Speaker made the mover of the motion to provide concrete evidence to substantiate his claim. The evidences were provided and the Speaker became constitutionally bound to declare the seat vacant when he saw Hon. Obinna Okwara clearly flaunting his newly acquired PDP membership card.
In all his actions since he assumed office as the Rt. Hon. Speaker of IMHA, Barr. Kennedy Chidozie Ibeh, has demonstrated strong commitment to the laws of the land and love of humanity. His leadership style truly shows that when the righteous is on the throne the people rejoice .