A new broom it is said sweeps clean. And so, I am not amazed to state that the new Imo Speaker, Rt Hon Paul Emeziem may have started on a good note. The efforts of the speaker to reach out to the various stake holders no doubt is designed to lay a good foundation that will enable him deliver on the expectations of the people.
It is heart-warming that he took prompt action to resolve the impasse between the Deputy Speaker and the Ohaji/Egbema representative who was incarcerated for few days. By that effort all those warming up to pull their triggers and draw their daggers have sheathed their swords. The warring factions are now calm and peaceful. Without peace the House will achieve nothing.
Legislation is about people. The legislators themselves are representing a set of people found in their constituencies. The Speaker as the number one legislator in the state is representing and leading the over 5m Imo people. The importance of his position is therefore a critical one for which he cannot afford to fail. He is the primus inter pares on who so much is expected.
His present activities of reaching out to the various groups to feel their pulse will give him the necessary clues on what the people want. The Speaker first launched out by interacting with the media chieftains in the state. The media referred to as the fourth estate of the realm plays as much critical roles as the legislature. It is seen as another arm of the government.
The media as the watch dog sets agenda and provides direction even as it throws up any offensive acts of the leaders. It feels the pulse of the people which it makes public knowledge to get the attention of the leading authorities. Seeking their co-operation in this regard shows the Speaker means well and wants to succeed where others fail. It is about the people.
I have no doubt that if he keeps a listening ear and stays close to the people who have entrusted their destiny in his hands, he would have succeeded in bridging a huge gap. The people want to be carried along. The legislators are far away from the people. The lawmakers should stay close and account to the people.
It is also impressive that the new henchman is also reaching out to top politicians and leading lights in the state that have abundant experience to draw from. Chief Tony Chukwu (enwegh ihe kariri chineke) and former governor Ikedi Ohakim are grassroots people who have impacted and touched lives in various ways. Their philanthropic activities bring them closer to the people. Interestingly, it is like charity begins at home, from his Okigwe zone.
The legislature is part of the tripod in the governance structure that drives any democracy. Its roles cannot be over emphasized. It is reckoned to provide checks and balances among the other two parts-the executive and the judiciary. Where these bodies are performing their duties effectively and efficiently government is reputed to be delivering on the expectations of the people.
Thus, it becomes easy to appreciate the important roles the Speaker of any legislature plays in a democratic setting.
I cannot but advise the new Speaker to learn from the experiences of the past. Being a first timer who was chosen and made “King” speaks volume on the level of trust reposed in him. He cannot therefore bungle the opportunity of writing his name in gold. It is said that to who m much is given much is also expected.
The Imo legislature truly speaking has never been in the good books of the people. They have been an extension of the executive. Some call them errand boys of the governor while others see them as contractors and yes men, while yet others view them as immature boys, opportunists that latched on to power by chance and do not know what to do. The appellations may have been exaggerated but these are the images the Speaker must launder
Much as I do not subscribe to unnecessary conflicts between the executive and the legislature because when two elephants fight it is the grasses that suffer, I will encourage the Assembly to assert its independence. They should strive to remove the toga of a rubber stamp legislature whatever that means. Imo people would want a legislature that will query the executive arm when necessary.
I am optimistic that the legislature would take a clean break from the ugly past and rewrite the story of their performance. The objective of the removal of the former Speaker will be defeated if subsequent activities of the House did not impact on the people positively. There is every reason to demonstrate that lessons have been learnt and that the legislators mean well.
There is need to restore the confidence of the people without confrontation. The lawmakers should appreciate the enormity of the burden placed on their shoulders as representatives of over 5m Imo people whose destinies have been entrusted in their hands. I do not doubt that the new broom will sweep clean as a way forward. This is only possible if the House can work as a team and donate their maximum co-operation.
Emeziem has started well and the expectations are that he should sustain the effort and rove to greater heights. He should sustain an open mind, carry everyone along, lead with love, be firm and just, focus on the people; surely, he will arrive at the end heroically.