It has become a tradition in our clime for state governors to reel out their achievements in 100 days after they took over the reigns of power.
Although this act is a mere convention rather than constitutional, yet most people are usually in high expectations, not only to listen to the achievements of the incumbent governor upon 100 days in office, but also to hear the next direction of the state government.
This is not the same with the legislature. Constitutionally, the legislature is saddled with the critical roles of legislation, appropriation and oversight. It therefore smacks of ignorance, for one to measure a legislator by the number of buildings and road contracts he awarded or factories he built for employment.
However, it should be stated that a legislator of empathy, who shares the pains and challenges of his constituents, is compelled by emotion and compassion to part with his salary and allowance to meet some of the demanding needs of his constituents.
It is on this backdrop that i shall examine the uncommon performance of Rt. Hon. Barr Kennedy Chidozie Ibeh, (Nke-nke enyi Obowo), the Speaker, Imo State House of Assembly (IMHA) and member representing Obowo State Constituency.
REORIENTATION/POSITIVE ATITUDE TO DUTY AMONG STAFF AND MEMBERS
Exactly November 8, 2021, about 100 days ago, the honourable members of Imo State House of Assembly, in their wisdom decided to elect one of their own, a man of style and political sagacity, whose intellectual prowess runs deep, in the person of Rt. Hon. Barr. Kennedy Chidozie Ibeh, (Nke-nke enyi Obowo) as the Speaker, IMHA.
Since assumption of office, Rt Hon. Barr Kennedy Chidozie Ibeh has surpassed all expectations in terms of quality legislative delivery and any other indices of measuring performance of a legislator in our peculiar milieu.
As one approaches the Assembly complex, the first non tactile but noticeable achievement of the new leadership of IMHA, led by Mr. Speaker, is the pervasive ambience of positive attitude to work among staff and members of IMHA, a clear departure of the character and style of the old Assembly, the old order.
This achievement did not come cheap as it was a clear manifestation of the outcome of a high powered 2-day capacity building seminar embarked upon by Mr. Speaker and the leadership of the House as a reorientation tool for senior staff and members of IMHA.
It is on record that prior to the training exercise, the last seminar for members that came close to it happened over 10 years ago, hence legislative activities were drab and insipid.
RENOVATION OF PERMANENT, TEMPORARY SITES OF IMHA COMPLEX
Hardly had this exercise completed than the Speaker started with giving the temporary Assembly complex a new facelift. Quantum time and resources were invested to make the lacklustre looking complex relatively habitable and conducive for legislative business.
He did not stop there. He moved on to request His Excellency, Sen. Hope Uzodinma to fulfil the failed promises of past administrations and renovate the permanent Assembly complex which was totally dilapitated and worn out.
Governor Hope Uzodinma acceded to his request and approved the immediate renovation of the gigantic edifice which will be ready for use soon.
RECONSTRUCTION OF SPEAKER’S LODGE
Having achieved that, Mr Speaker directed his attention to the Speaker’s lodge. In his usual panache and taste for quality, he found the lodge unbefitting of the number 3 citizen of Imo State. Again, he appealed to the governor for renovation. It is pleasant to note that rather than renovate, the governor approved a total reconstruction of the edifice. The project is nearing completion and will be delivered in the shortest possible time.
DONATION OF 100% SALARY TO APC OKIGWE ZONE YOUTH LEADERS
It is also worth mentioning that prior to the time Rt.Hon. Barr. Kennedy Chidozie Ibeh became the Speaker, it was not known in the anals of Imo political history that a speaker donated his salary to the youth 100 percent.
But on the 22nd Dec, 2021, in the full glare of Imo State APC Chairman, Dr. Macdonald Ebere, and other state officials of the party, through a letter transmitted to the Chief Accounting Officer of IMHA (Clerk), the Speaker directed that all his monthly salary be donated to APC youth leaders Okigwe Zone. This unusual philanthropic gesture has bewildered observers and kept their mouth agape.
PAYMENT OF HOSPITAL BILLS OF DISCHARGED PATIENTS IN VARIOUS HOSPITALS
Still in his philanthropic gesture, on the 26th Dec, 2021, he visited some hospitals in Obowo local government. These include Chinoyerem, Mercy and Mc Lawrence Group of Hospitals where he offset all the bills of discharged patients.
It was pathetic to note that at Chinoyerem hospitals, patients like Mrs Victoria Nathaniel, who had complications after a ceaserian section could not go home four months after she was discharged. This is owing to her inability to pay the balance of N324,000. This amount was settled by Mr. Speaker and she went home in jubilation.
Another trumatising experience was the case of little Micheal who was 17 months old as at the time Mr Speaker visited. He had stayed in that hospital for 17 months after he was treated of convulsion but could not go home because of non payment of hospital bills.
God, through the instrumentality of Mr Speaker set him and his parents free to go home.
Let me not mentioned Master Wale Emmanuel at Mercy hospital, whose mother died during child’s birth, Emmanuel was only 5-year old and was struck with anaemia. He became well after he was infused with pants of blood, he was well and discharged but could not go home untill Mr. speaker intervened. The list is long and cannot be exhausted here for want of space.
DONATION OF CASH, FOOD STUFF TO INDIGENTS, MOBILITY TO LOYALISTS
Again, on the 30th Dec, 2021, Mr Speaker organized what could be termed, “The Largest Gathering of the Indigents in Obowo”, local government area. He did not only eat sumptous meal and drank choice wines with them, but doled out large amount of money.
He gave out food stuffs and above all, fed them with spiritual food of encouragement from the word of God. Not forgetting that good number of party loyalists and structure executives went home that day with motorcycles. It was an unprecedented success!
APPOINTMENT OF IMO PEOPLE-OBOWIANS AND OTHER IMOLITES TO HIS OFFICE
Within the period under review, The Rt Honourable Speaker gave appointments to Imo citizens from the three political zones of the state, to compliment the effort of His Excellency the Governor, to solve the unemployment challenge in the state. The striking thing about these appointments is that finding has shown, that one of the appointments made by Mr. Speaker at any level is richer than that of 10 appointments of his predecessors. The reason is simple, the take home pay for Mr. Speaker’s appointees are robust empowerment that will trickle down to the dependants of the appointees. This is verifiable and has not been the case in the past.
CONSTRUCTION OF AFOR UMUOKEH MARKET
As an advocate of self sufficiency through entrepreneurship and commerce, Rt Hon. Kennedy Ibeh embarked on the construction of new Afor Umuokeh market in Obowo. The market which is still on-going is completely at his personal cost.
ORGANIZING OBOWO APC MEGA MEETING AND DONATION OF MOTORCYCLE TO WARD CHAIRMEN
Among the numerous other achievement is the recent Obowo APC mega stakeholder’s meeting which he put together. The event was another opportunity for all the ward APC chairmen in Obowo to go home with a motorcycle.
Beyond the gift of motorcycle, the meeting which was graced by all Obowo APC political stalwarts, and witnessed by Imo State APC Chairman, Dr. MacDonald Ebere and his vice, was an eloquent testimony of Mr Speaker’s wide acceptability.
It is only an uncommon Speaker that can record such mind blowing achievements within 100 days given our present economic realities.
It is also instructive to mention that before he emerged as the Speaker, he was instrumental to enacting Law. No2, establishing Imo Security Organization. This law has enabled the governor in tackling the orchestrated security issues facing the state.
The Chief among the achievements is that Mr Speaker has developed a systematic cordial working relationship with the executive, which has translated to gradual but steady transformation of Imo State in line with the 3-R mantra of Governor Hope Uzodinmma’s administration.
What is needed now is a concerted effort of not only APC members but the entire Imolites in ensuring that His Excellency, Governor Hope Uzodinmma and Mr. Speaker, Rt. Hon. Barr. Kennedy Chidozie Ibeh remained focus in their deliveries of democratic delicacies.