20180927

Okorocha Fights With His Deputy As He Takes Back Office

The face-off between Imo State Governor Rochas Okorocha and his estranged deputy, Eze Madumere, still persists even after the court nullified Madumere’s impeachment. Madumere was impeached on July 31.

Imo State High Court in Owerri, presided over by Justice Benjamin Iheaka, had quashed Madumere’s impeachment.

What are the issues leading to their fight?

The court said the House of Assembly did not comply with constitutional provisions in the process.

It, therefore, dismissed the impeachment as unconstitutional, and of no legal effect.

But barely 24 hours after the judgment, Okorocha, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Sam Onwuemeodo, said Madumere “is confused and does not know what next to do”.

The statement reads: “The judgment on the impeachment of Prince Eze Madumere was delivered on September 25. We withheld our reaction because we needed to acquaint ourselves with the crux of the judgment. We have read it, and the crux of the judgment by Justice Benjamin Iheaka is that the chief judge constituted the seven-man panel outside the seven days approved by law.

“We read a statement by Madumere himself, but the fact remains that he is confused and does not know what he wants. He signed the statement as deputy governor and is still parading himself as a governorship aspirant on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), especially about 48 hours to the primary.

“Madumere thanked two other aspirants – Ikedi Ohakim and Emeka Ihedioha – for their contributions to his victory, but insulted the man who took him up from the floor to the level he is today.

“He said his offence was that he stood by the people for justice. May we ask Madumere when he became an apostle of justice and over what? He was chief of staff and later deputy governor, meaning that from 2011 till he was impeached about two months ago, he was the second in command in the government. And now he is struggling to remain deputy governor and aspiring to be governor. Men like Prince Madumere are bitter or ugly case studies.

“Okorocha’s only offence is that he did not anoint Madumere as his successor. And you now ask whether it is compulsory that every deputy governor must succeed his boss as governor. If the answer is no, then Madumere should count his teeth with his tongue.’’

But Madumere said he was being victimised for opposing the government’s “anti-people policies”.

He said: “I thank God for his grace. Truly, it has been a journey of grace, and it is a victory for constitutional democracy. I hail the judiciary for the courage against all odds because the judgment is historic and it has reinvigorated the people’s faith. Indeed, the judiciary has proved that it is the last hope of the common man. It has been a battle against intimidation, threat, oppression but the truth has prevailed.

“My crime was that I said no to anti-people policies, and it has been intimidation and threat all this while. But it is a journey of grace and we shall succeed.”

Justice Iheaka chided Chief Judge, Paschal Nnadi, and the Attorney-General Militus Nlemadim, for not adhering to Section 188 (5) of the 1999 Constitution as amended in the impeachment proceedings against Madumere.

He lampooned Speaker Acho Ihim (ninth defendant) and the Assembly (10th defendant) for violating an interim order he issued stopping the impeachment process.