Abia 8th Assembly leadership; only ranking member can become speaker, says Orji as he bows out meritoriously



Ogbonnaya Ikokwu, Umuahia

As the tenure of the 7th Abia State House of Assembly ends today June 10, 2023, the speaker RT Hon Chinedum Orji, has appreciated his Umuahia central state constituency electorates for electing him to represent them for eight years.

Orji, equally expressed gratitude to his colleagues for the confidence resposed on him to serve as the first among equals in the Assembly.

The speaker who is a civil engineer by profession dedicated all the successes recorded under his watch to his colleagues in the hollowed Chambers during a chat with journalists and broadcasters on Friday.

Orji, hinted that he had formerly written Governor Alex otti, to issue the necessary proclamation for the Inauguration of the 8th Abia Assembly.

The speaker insisted that the leadership of the 8th Assembly would be elected inline with the house rule, which favours ranking members to be elected into principal positions.

He pointed out that it was a great privileged and honour to have served the State in the capacity of speaker of the state Assembly, adding that it provided him the opportunity to contribute his own quota to the people of the state.

The speaker revealed that the intentions of the state Assembly under his leadership were geared towards giving the executive arm of government led by former Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, all the supports it needed to succeed.

He however regretted that most of the moves made by the state Assembly to assist the governor were misinterpreted by some people in the corridors of power as competition.

His words, “It’s been a great honour for me to serve the State in whatever capacity.
So to serve Abia as the speaker of the House of Assembly wasn’t a right, it was an honour and previllege and I tried the best I can to do my best with that previllege.
If not for that previllege most of you would have gone home with a wrong impression about me.

“Apart from contributing my own quota in law making,
it was an honour to serve the State. For me there are no regrets serving my State as the speaker, not minding the palatable and unpalatable experiences.

“The greatest achievement of the State Assembly under my watch is the peace we were able to foster in the state despite the pressures we faced.
Under my watch as the speaker we were able to enact some good laws which is our primary function.

“All that is required now is the will power to implement those laws. Our duty is to make laws.
It’s the duty of the executive to implement the laws.
Ours also is to play the role of check and balances and you know the role of Judiciary in any democracy.

“The primary function of a legislator is to make laws and not to build roads, rather the duty of a legislator is to ensure that the roads crisscross his constituency is put in the budget.

“Every other thing that a legislator does like provision of water, renovation of schools is all in line of trying to meet the needs of those that voted him into power”.

Orji, popularly known for his roles in youth empowerment during the administration of former Governor Theodore Orji, also pointed out that his job as the speaker of the 7th Assembly wasn’t without some challenges.

He said, “One of our biggest challenges was having to navigate the political terrain of the state in relation with the executive, some people made it a point of duty to ensure that that relationship was broken down for selfish reasons.

“When we took over the leadership of the state Assembly, salaries were paid as at the 25th of every month, because we ensure that the State University and polytechnic were getting their subvention within that period when the late Prof Uche Ikonne was the vice Chancellor.

“Civil servants were paid by 25th of every month because we had the will to help the executive, not that we were in competition with the executive.
But maybe because of my person and where I was coming from, people saw me as a competitor to the executive.

“Anything that was done in the House of Assembly was misinterpreted to mean a challenge to the governor then, so that affected the relationship we had with the executive because of many propaganda and blackmails that set in and weakened our relationship with executive.

“It was not on a personal note that I decided that the relationship should be weak, but with the executive interference to some of our moves.

“I know we could pay the salary by 25th of every month and it did happened under our watch because we summoned the right people and persuaded them to help the governor to succeed.
It happened, and you journalists can attest to that, it wasn’t a rocket science, but somewhere along the line, you know what transpired and how we got to where we are now”.

It will be recalled that the Abia State House of Assembly under Orji was the first to pass Local Government Autonomy bill into law.

Other notable law passed by the 7th Assembly are Female Rights to Inherit properties,
Violence Against Persons Prohibition Law, 1st Assembly to pass the 5th Alteration (Amendment) to the Constitution.

The 7th 1st Assembly to pass the Nigeria in Diaspora Commission Law and the People living with Disabilities Law.