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Impeachment move against Imo deputy governor

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Impeachment move against Imo deputy governor

On July 10, the Imo State House of Assembly set up a seven-member ad-hoc committee to investigate allegations of gross misconduct levelled against the Deputy Governor, Prince Eze Madumere.

That followed a motion moved by the Deputy Speaker of the House, Hon. Ugonna Ozuruigbo, which was based on a petition signed by 13 out of the 27 members of the Assembly.

Madumere dismissed the allegations against him as cheap, spurious and deliberately contrived to undermine his person.

The chief judge of the state has gone ahead to set up a seven-man panel to investigate allegations against the deputy governor. Of all the allegations levelled against Madumere, what stood out was that he abandoned his duty as the deputy governor and has refused assignments given to him by Governor Rochas Okorocha.

But every discerning mind knows that Madumere, who has been Okorocha’s alter ego in the past 25 years, rising from his personal chief of staff to Imo State chief of staff and deputy governor, only disagreed with the governor over the move to impose the Chief of Staff and Commissioner for Lands, Uche Nwosu, as the successor of Okorocha.

Since Okorocha declared openly that Nwosu, his son-in-law, would be his successor, there has been outrage in Imo State. The outrage has not come from Madumere alone, but the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state. This was why the APC leaders pulled the rugs off the governor’s feet in the first place at the party’s congresses.

But Okorocha has now identified Madumere as his fall guy for being a part of the movement to stop his move. He turned to the House of Assembly to fulfil his wish: impeachment.

Okorocha came into governance in 2011 on the platform of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA). That was after the state was equally frustrated from the poor delivery of Governor Ikedi Ohakim, who was there from 2007 to 2011.

In 2015, Okorocha managed to return for a second term. Since then, it has been from one controversy to the other for the governor.

We recall the issue of erecting statues in the state, which caused uproar across the country. We also recall the battle with pensioners, civil servants, local government workers, tricycle drivers and even his spat with the Catholic community in the state. Yet, there are also the bigger issues of thousands of uncompleted projects littering all over the state, the nepotism of turning all family members to government officials and the plot to turn Nwosu to his successor. Nwosu is from the same Orlu Senatorial District with Okorocha.

We expected that Okorocha would have seen the signs that his actions are hurting Imo people and how unpopular he has become when the congresses of APC in the state left him shorthanded.

By upstaging the former National Organising Secretary of the party, Senator Osita Izunaso and replacing him with his man, Emmanuel Ibedero, the governor has bounced back or so it seems.

Currently, the governor has embarked on another unpopular project. His mission now is to remove Madumere from office. That would be the second deputy governor he would pull out in the last seven years. He removed Jude Agbaso, his first deputy governor, from office on frivolous contract scam charges. The court later cleared Agbaso. The main reason he removed Agbaso was because his relationship with Agbaso’s elder brother, Martin, soured.

We note with dismay that Okorocha, who is the only APC governor in the South-East, has not given good account of himself to make APC attractive to the zone that has shown the greatest resistance to the party, among all other zones in the country. His actions, controversies and poor delivery on governance are poor advertisements for APC’s desire to make an inroad into the zone in 2019.

We note particularly that his move against Madumere is in bad taste, judging from their history in the past 25 years. We recall that before Okorocha emerged as governor in 2011, Madumere was in prison for a frivolous allegation of attempting to kill the then governor and former President Olusegun Obasanjo with sachets of “pure water.”

We totally object to the tactics of using mere political disagreements between governors and their deputies as grounds for impeachment of the deputy. That has been the underhand tactics applied by governors, who now appear to be dictators in their states. The case of Sunday Onyebuchi, a former deputy governor of Enugu State, who was impeached, among other reasons, for rearing poultry in government house, comes to mind. We do not believe that governors are God that cannot be challenged. We do not believe that mere political disagreements would cause the full deployment of forces to end a deputy governor’s political career. We expect that sanity should reign in Imo and Okorocha should withdraw his attack dogs against his deputy.

Why we can’t stop the legislators from carrying out their functions, we object to the idea of governor turning the parliament into a lame duck in carrying out his wishes. Impeachment of an elected public official, especially deputy governor, should not be on the basis of disagreement with his or her principal. Unfortunately, APC as a party on whose platform they both emerged, has not said anything about the drama going on in Imo. We expect the ruling party to intervene in this matter.

 

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