The suspended female member of Ebonyi State House of Assembly, Maria Ude Nwachi, has pleaded guilty to the allegations leveled against her by the house.
Nwachi, who represents Afikpo North-east constituency in Ebonyi State House of Assembly was given a two-week suspension last Tuesday for alleged misconduct, particularly for posing as a public photographer.
At a public hearing by the five-man committee constituted by the house to investigate her, Nwachi was grilled for about 30 minutes by the committee at the assembly complex, Nkaliki road, Abakaliki during which she admitted her ‘crime’ and pleaded for forgiveness.
Nwachi equally accepted that she does some promotions for Governor David Umahi which according to her was to, ”showcase the Governor’s achievements before the world.”
“I actually missed sittings for my private business and such behavior no matter the circumstances cannot be right. I can’t justify that and I don’t see what the House has done as regards my suspension as a political witchhunt. I see my action as very wrong and I cannot justify it.
“I actually do some promotions for my Governor, he is my Governor. I do promotion for him, not image laundering. I have a lot of people on Facebook and I know how to figure those things and my consideration for doing that is to enable the people of the country to know that my Governor is doing well, developing the state.
“Even before I came into politics, I have been doing ‘Facebook business’ and managing the ‘Igboist account’ which enjoys large followership. I have been doing lots of empowerment through it. Usually, I use my resources to do those empowerment but this time around I introduced a formular which the Igboist members can contribute to empower the people. It is a new empowerment scheme and it’s a sort of family empowerment for members of the Igboist”, she said.
Chairman of the committee and member, representing Ikwo South constituency, Chike Ogiji outlined the effects of her ‘crime’.
According to him, the house took the decision to suspend her because it was worried about her activities which portrayed her and the assembly in bad light. He however commended the lawmaker for her sincerity over the allegations levelled against her.
“We are not interested in your private life, we don’t even intend to delve into your privacy. But what we want is that as long as you continue to be a member of this House of Assembly, it is collective responsibility and the public perception about your behavior and conduct is also important to us and that is why we have done this.
“We sincerely appreciate your sincerity because sometimes people are not sincere. We want to leave a legislature that is very decent and (can) be imitated and seen as being upright anywhere in this country and that is why we have done what we have done. We want to thank you for making yourself available and for also being very sincere and religious for attending to our questions,” he said.
Contributing, the member representing Ohaukwu South constituency, Frank Onwe also commended Ms. Nwachi for her sincerity.
“Dear colleague, I must commend you for making the work of this House very easy. By accepting responsibilities for all these things leveled against you. For the purpose of the public and records, people go out there to give misconceptions of what happened in the House. The House did not suspend you simply because you are photographing. For us, we see it as a hobby. When there is programme we go there, snap with people and get pictures.
“But it becomes a problem when you go to a public place outside your area and in the process (or) where you are ‘paparazing,’ you are pushed down and they will say, it is Maria, a legislator and where is the legislator from? She is from Ebonyi state. So it takes something away from the House here that one of us is being pushed around…”