Lawmakers shun budget presentation by Okorocha

There was tension and anxiety at the Imo State House complex in Owerri, the Imo State capital on Tuesday, as the 27 lawmakers shunned the presentation of the 2018 budget proposal by the state Governor, Rochas Okorocha.

Apart from the members of staff of the Assembly, the lawmakers boycotted the complex throughout the day.

The presentation which was billed to commence at 10am on Tuesday did not start till 5pm when news filtered in that the programme could no longer hold same day.

The chamber was not opened signalling that there was a problem .

Journalists and visitors who had arrived at the complex for the day’s programme waited in vain.

A source said that the lawmakers boycotted the programme because the executive arm took them for granted.

The source was quoted to have said, “The lawmakers are protesting because the executive left them in the limbo about the budget presentation.

How can you inform the lawmakers about an important constitutional assignment as the budget presentation through just a mere radio announcement and press statement?”

But the Chief Press Secretary to the speaker of the state House of Assembly, Marcel Ekwezuo, said the discovery of errors in the budget speech by the lawmakers stalled the programme.

He said, “The lawmakers discovered errors in the budget presentation. It would be wise to present a clean budget to the legislators. A new date for the presentation will be announced soon.”

On why no lawmaker showed up at the complex, Ekwezue said, “The correction of the errors discovered by the lawmakers is not a house committee thing; the lawmakers are to do it as individuals. We hope to present a sound budget soon.”

The governor said around 5pm the budget presentation could not hold because of “largely disturbing discrepancies discovered in the budget speech.”

Okorocha, who spoke via a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Sam Onwuemeodo, said, “With utmost regret, we wish to inform the public that the announced presentation of the 2018 budget to the Imo State House of Assembly by Governor, Rochas Okorocha, fixed for Tuesday, November 28, 2017, could no longer hold, owing largely to disturbing discrepancies discovered in the budget speech.”

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