•Impeachment plot thickens
As Imo State lawmakers spurn all interventions, including recent moves from top officials at the presidency and Imo stakeholders to stall their impeachment plots, there are indications yesterday that close associates of Imo State Deputy Governor, Prince Eze Madumere, who have been weighing the options open to him, may have advised him to resign his position as the number two citizen in the state.
This, according to a source, “is to ensure that Madumere would be eligible to contest the governorship election in 2019.” The source said the lawmakers’ resolve to go ahead with the impeachment process “was simply aimed at spoiling Prince Madumere’s chances of contesting and winning the governorship election in 2019. But I can assure you that he is being advised to outsmart them. If he has to resign before the planned impeachment, he will do so. He will do whatever is necessary to contest and win the 2019 governorship election in Imo,” the source said.
Our investigation as at yesterday shows however that Madumere has not personally responded to such advice even though he is aware that the impeachment process is ongoing notwithstanding the legal battles to stall it.
During the week, the legal battle centred primarily on whether the impeachment proceedings can continue when the State Chief Judge, Justice Paschal Nnadi, has not set-up the required 7-Man Committee to investigate the allegations on which the House of Assembly is poised to institute the impeachment proceedings. The courts were approached by the two parties to settle the argument. Madumere, for example, earlier in the week, dragged the State Chief Judge, Justice Paschal Nnadi, the Speaker, Imo State House of Assembly, Acho Ihim, and Imo State House of Assembly to court, urging it to quash the planned impeachment initiated by the lawmakers. We also gathered from sources that top officials in the presidency intervened on the matter during the week, in a desperate bid to save APC, ahead 2019.
But at the weekend, the Chief Judge went ahead to set up a 7-man Committee to investigate the allegations in the impeachment notice. The committee, to be chaired by Nze Saba Nze has Charles Okoro, Barth N. Opara, Chika Anosike, Nwokona Chidozie, Mrs. Olivia Nwanekezi and Amadi Chidinma as members.
With the inauguration of the committee at the weekend, there is tension in the state that the impeachment process may be fast tracked this week. Already, both the lawmakers sympathetic to the impeachment plot and Madumere’s supporters are holding last minutes strategic meetings to perfect their plans.
An impeachment notice signed by 13 members of the State House of Assembly had served the deputy governor through newspaper publications, the lawmakers accused Madumere, among others, of “absence without official reason or permission duly obtained from office for a period of three (3) months; failure to perform any of the constitutional function of Office of Deputy Governor of Imo State, including but not limited to; refusal to attend, and to hold meetings with the Governor and Commissioners of the Government of Imo State for the governance of Imo State made compulsory by Constitution and under S.193 (2) of the 1999 Constitution and concealment of felonious conduct affecting the presentation of self as eligible candidate of Office of Deputy Governor, Imo State, having been convicted and imprisoned for theft in the United States of America.”
In his response, Madumere said, among others that “the first claim of absence is rather an old ploy of calling a dog a bad name to hang it,” and that “the Deputy Governor cannot force himself on the Governor, especially when he has been tagged a pariah in the government circle.”