Right from the day they were inaugurated, Members of the 7th Abia State House of Assembly under the Speakership of Rt Hon Chinedum Enyinnaya Orji resolved to make their plenary sessions always open to the public. The Speaker then immediately took concrete steps to ensure that not only Abians but the entire world, for as many that are interested, are carried along in the proceedings of the House.
As a public institution, the doors of the Assembly were always thrown open to visitors, the media and observers alike. In fact, there’s hardly any media house, including bloggers, in Abia State that hasn’t had its personnel visit the Assembly to cover their sessions. Hardly!
Even students have on several occasions visited the Assembly on excursions to observe and have a firsthand experience of what it is like to be involved in plenary sessions of the legislative arm of government. After all, like the Speaker said on the day of his inauguration, it is an “Assembly of the people, by the people and for the people”.
Before the world was hit with the dreaded Covid-19 pandemic that forced a prolonged lockdown on the entire world, followed by eased restriction of movements and observation of health protocols that included limiting number of people converging on any public arena to allow for social distancing, the Abia State House of Assembly used to be a beehive of activities for media practitioners in particular and the public in general.
For those who because of distance or any other reason could not attend the House’s plenary sessions, the Assembly as led by Rt Hon Chinedum Enyinnaya Orji, also made provisions for them through live streaming of the sessions on social media so they can follow it from any part of the world.
There’s hardly any other House of Assembly in the country that has gone so far and made deliberate efforts to ensure the citizens witness their proceedings live, in person or online.
From transformation of the Assembly’s physical infrastructure to an exotic edifice and cozy environment, to the making of quality laws and raising of public-spirited motions, all effectively impacting the lives of the people, to running what is always sure to be peaceful and harmonious sessions etc, no one in the shoes of these Assembly Members would want to keep their shine away from the public.
When the troubling wave of the pandemic is over, as we all hope and pray, the 7th Abia State House of Assembly shall once again throw its doors wide open to all and sundry. For now, we will make do with the limited number of people allowed into the Hallowed Chambers of the House to observe proceedings in compliance with COVID-19 protocols.
Safety first! Safety always!