Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo has dumped his deputy, Mr Eze Madumere, who has been locked in a fight for political supremacy against him.
Madumere was impeached by 19 out of the 27 members of the state assembly, despite his 11th hour effort to stop the process by the court.
The Speaker of the House, Acho Ihim, said the impeachment followed the outcome of a report of a seven-man panel which was constituted by the Chief Judge of the state to investigate allegations of gross misconduct.
He was accused of being absent from work without reasons for three months and also failing to perform constitutional duties like attending state executive and state security council meetings.
He was also accused of failure to attend meetings with the Governor and other government functionaries as well as an alleged concealment of felonious act in the United States.
Madumere had tried to stop the impeachment process, instituting several actions in the court. Hearing was slated to begin today.
Madumere, in his first suit against the state Chief Judge, the Speaker of Imo State House of Assembly and the Imo State House of Assembly, contested the validity of the Assembly’s motion and the Speaker’s request to the Chief Judge to constitute a seven-man panel to investigate the alleged gross misconduct levelled against him.
Apparently irked by failure of the defendants to respect the pendency of the suit, the deputy governor again filed two fresh suits against the defendants in the original suit and the seven-man panelists. Joined in the fresh suit as the second to eight defendants, are Nze Saba Nze, Charles Okoro, Barth N. Opara, Mr. Chika Anosike, Mr. Nwokocha Chidozie, Mrs. Olivia Nwanekezi and Amadi Chidinma.
The deputy governor urged the court to “determine whether the Chief Judge can legally constitute a panel of seven persons of unquestionable integrity, to investigate the allegations of gross misconduct against the plaintiff, by the Speaker and the Imo State House of Assembly, during the pendency of suit number HOW/531/2018,” which he instituted against the Chief Judge, the Speaker and the Imo State House of Assembly, “in respect of the invalidity of the Assembly’s motion and the Speaker’s request to the Chief Judge to constitute the said panel”.
According to Madumere’s 12-paragraph affidavit, “the defendants were duly served with the originating summons and other processes in the suit on July 16, 2018, and they were aware of the pendency of the said suit.”
He equally prayed the Court to, among other things, set aside the appointment of seven persons by the Chief Judge, as members of the panel to investigate the allegations of gross misconduct made against him, by the Speaker and the State House of Assembly.
In the second suit, the Deputy Governor then sought “an order of interlocutory injunction, restraining the panel and the Speaker, from investigating or continuing to investigate the allegations made against him, or sitting or continuing to sit, or to inquire or continuing to inquire, or deliberate or continuing to deliberate on the aforesaid allegations of gross misconduct against the plaintiff, or make any findings or continue to make findings against the plaintiff, pending the determination of this suit.”
Another prayer before the Court is “an order restraining the Speaker and Imo State House of Assembly, from receiving or accepting or acting on any report presented by the second to eight defendants, pending the determination of this suit.”