Twenty-seven members-elect of the 10th Imo State Assembly have proceeded to Uyo, Akwa Ibom State capital, for a five-day retreat and orientation on legislative proceedings, scheduled to commence today.

An aide to Speaker of the state Assembly, Ikenna Iwuoha, disclosed this, yesterday, in a statement.

He said: “To ensure the 10th Imo Assembly takes off on sound footing, incoming and returning lawmakers would, today, embark on a five-day retreat and orientation exercise in Uyo.”

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Iwuoha maintained that it is customary to embark on such programme to equip lawmakers, saying: “As the custom and tradition of the legislative arm of government, before lawmakers are inaugurated, incoming and returning House members are taken through rules and procedures of parliamentary business by legislative experts to prepare them on task and challenges ahead.

“The retreat would provide lawmakers the opportunity to familiarise themselves with their mandate, educating them on legislative processes, especially the incoming legislators.”

“The legislative tools that would give them a head-start in legislative responsibility to their constituents would also be provided them.”

Iwuoha noted that incoming legislators would be trained on rules and procedures of parliamentary business, vis-a-vis how to sponsor bills, motions, present petitions, budgeting processes (appropriation), oversight, conflict resolution in communities, and working independently as an arm of government, in collaboration with other arms, to provide services to the electorate.

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The state governor, Hope Uzodimma, according to the statement, is expected to present a keynote address, while the Speaker would give a goodwill message.

Imo 2023: Why we have confidence in Sen Achonu – Group

A non-partisan pressure group known as Concerned Imo Influencers (CII) has flexed their muscles behind the candidacy of Senator Athanasius Nneji Achonu, as the governorship hopeful for Imo State election coming up in November 2023.

In a statement made available to Vanguard, the founder and Coordinator of the group, Amb. Theo Chibueze stated that despite being apolitical, the group made up of influential Imo citizens with one common mind, has decided to support a man they believe possesses a purposeful visionary leadership quality, that will bring sanity to Imo State.

In his words, he said, “It is no gainsaying that the narrative is bound to change. It is also a fact that the set time is now as it would excite a sane mind that when a ‘David’ decides to behave spiritually drunk to face a fiery ‘Goliath,’ then the system is bound to hiss a sigh of relief.

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“As Imo State grapples with numerous challenges ranging from insecurity, poverty and crumbling economy caused by a continued ‘sit-at-home mandate by some agitators on the axis, including kidnappings and killings that have jaundiced tourism and investors, then, there is no cause to doubt why the baton should not change hand.

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“Senator Athan Achonu needs no introduction to Ndi-Imo including non-Imolites who know his antecedents in the land and beyond, but he would need such, to some non-Imolites or perhaps, some myopic, who doubts his pedigree and strength of readiness for the herculean task.

”Aku Ruo Ulo’ (Wealth that resides at home) as he is fondly called by his admirers is not a mere chieftaincy title, but an earnest attestation of his wits and deeds in the area of sustainable grassroots development.

”Agu Otu Aka’ (One armed Lion or General) is a revered title unknowingly given to him by his beneficiaries, admirers and watchers who became awed by his brazen strength against all odds.

“As rightly put by Nnaemeka Onyeka Obiaraeri in one of his write-ups, he succinctly described him as one that has had many ups and downs growing up, but not what many of his haters and detractors lamely try to label him.

“For the benefit of doubt, Senator Athan Achonu is one of the single biggest private sector investors in Imo state. Some of his project sites in Imo State and Abuja which are needless to mention here, should be a convincing testament to his antecedent which detractors have tried to ignore but misjudged him through terribly hearsay and lies.

“We are convinced and also found in his personality, a man with unflinching focus, driven by a determination to change the tide. A man who never bothered about disparages from the opponents but ready to roll up his sleeves and hit the ground running as demonstrated through his personal projects and investments in Imo State.

“Many people in Imo State may not be aware that Senator Achonu made his first $1m from genuine business before the age of 25 and has become a household name in the area of grassroots empowerment in Imo State. He is a practical investor who is not deterred by all the legal hurdles to silence and make his effort cheap by some power brokers.

“In the area of security, Sen Achonu has been passionate towards sanitizing the land. According to him, the insecurity in the land has destroyed the State economy as well as chase investors, tourists and even the Imo citizens in diaspora out of the land.

“Therefore, we, the Concerned Imo Influencers have deemed it necessary to support someone who cares about the protection of the people, properties and to bring sustainable development to Imo State. We believe that Senator Athan Nneji Achonu is capable of the job.”