*Allegations Frivolous, Says Madumere
The Imo State House of Assembly on Tuesday, commenced impeachment proceedings against the Deputy Governor, Prince Eze Madumere, over allegations of gross misconduct, dereliction of duty, imprisonment for theft in the United States, among other allegations.
Madumere fell out with Imo Governor Rochas Okorocha over the governorâ€™s succession plans and Madumereâ€™s governorship ambition. Okorocha wants his son-in-law, who is also his chief of staff, Uche Nwosu, to succeed him.
A petition, which was tendered by Deputy Speaker Ugonna Ozuruigbo and thirteen other lawmakers, accused the embattled deputy governor of “absconding from his office for more than three months without permission and therefore should be impeachedâ€.
The lawmakers equally accused Madumere of refusing to carry out official duties assigned to him by the governor, refusal to attend State Executive Council meetings, refusal to hold meetings with the governor and commissioners and imprisonment for theft in the USA.
The speaker, Acho Ihim, said that the petition met and surpassed the required one third as provided in Section 188 (2) 11 of the 1999 Constitution as amended.
The lawmaker, representing Oru West LGA, Donatus Onuigwe, who opposed the impeachment proceedings was suspended by the speaker immediately.
The Assembly is made up of 27 members but four members who were sympathetic to Madumere were penultimate weekend suspended for “un-paliamentary conduct” paving the way for the impeachment proceess of the deputy governor to begin.
A six-man committee headed by Kennedy Ibe, member representing Obowo LGA, was set up to probe the allegations and report back to the House within seven days.
In his response to the allegations, Madumere said the first claim of absence was rather an old ploy of calling a dog a bad name to hang it. A press statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Uche Onwuchekwa, described Madumere as an astute administrator who did not joke with his duties especially his constitutional responsibilities.
The statement read: â€œAs such he has never absconded from office in the period so claimed. He is constitutionally saddled with the responsibilities of superintending Boundary Commission. By our records, the deputy governor of Imo State has never abdicated from such responsibility. Considering the period under review, people of Umuoma of Ihitte-Uboma local government, Ihube of Okigwe local government among others can testify to the Deputy Governorâ€™s sagacity in crises resolution with particular reference to April 11 and April 16, 2018.
â€œThe deputy governor participated in one day retreat for stakeholders in the management of Nigeria boundaries, which held in the Airforce Conference Center, Abuja on May 7, 2018 in the company of the Surveyor General of the State and the Principal Secretary to the Deputy Governor.
â€œRefusal to attend Constitutionally mandated proceedings of the State Executive Council is also one of the allegations that cannot stand any administrative procedure. There are laid down procedures through which a deputy governor or any member of the executive council can be invited for executive council meeting. We hereby state that the deputy governor has never been invited for such meetings either through a memo or any official notices and thereby cannot stand against the deputy governor with the period in review.
â€œAs stated above, the deputy governor can only attend a meeting he is officially invited to and he is no spirit to know when meetings are slated except he is duly informed.
â€œRefusal to attend, and to hold meetings with the governor is to say the least another exercise in triviality as the deputy governor cannot force himself on the governor especially when he has been tagged a pariah in the government circle. We state here that Governor Okorocha has never created such opportunity to meet with the deputy governor to discuss the programmes and activities of the government other than the once we embarrassingly hear by the road side and other sources. To this extent, where the deputy governorâ€™s inputs are needed, there are right procedures through which he could be reached either through his principal secretary and other principal officers or directly to the deputy governor.
â€œThe most embarrassing among the spurious allegations is the annoying allegation of concealment of felonious conduct affecting the presentation of self as eligible candidate of office of Deputy Governor of Imo State. This is not only astonishing but an extreme show of lack of due diligence. The Deputy Governor of Imo State, Prince Eze Madumere, has never been convicted of any civil matter let alone theft.”