Court Refusal To Swear In New Imo Dep Gov Gives Madumere A Fighting Chance


The Oasis Reporters

August 18, 2018

Eze Madumere, Callistus Ekenze

As the drama surrounding the removal of Imo state Deputy Governor, Eze Madumere continues to simmer in the state, his supposed replacement, Callistus Ekenze, was refused to be sworn in.

Ekenze, who was until Monday, the Head of Service in the state had, on same Monday, been cleared by the state’s House of Assembly, to replace Madumere, who was earlier impeached by the Assembly.

But while awaiting to be sworn in, on Tuesday as deputy governor, the judge cited a retraining court order asking that the action be put on hold. This became the open window for his fighting chance.

A High Court in Owerri, the Imo State Capital, had stopped the swearing-in of Mr. Ekenze as the new Deputy Governor of the state. The court ruling came in, on Tuesday morning, just as Ekenze was about to be sworn in.

The lead Counsel to the Deputy Governor of Imo State, Chief Ken Njemanze (SAN), minced no words in telling the Imo State Attorney-General, Hon. Miletus Nlemadim off, over his role in the purported impeachment plot against the Deputy Governor, Prince Eze Madumere.

Chief Njemanze made this admonition, during the hearing in a suit filed by the Deputy Governor of the State, Prince Madumere, against the Chief Judge, Hon. Justice Paschal Nnadi, Speaker, Hon. Acho Ihim, members of Imo State House of Assembly, 7 Man Panel of Inquiry and others challenging the alleged constitutional breaches in the impeachment procedures against his person.

He expressed disappointment over the role played by the Attorney General who was present in court on July 30, 2018, where the presiding Judge, Justice Benjamin Iheka granted explicit order, in the morning, restraining the Chief Judge of the State, Hon. Justice Paschal Nnadi, the Speaker with other members of Imo House of Assembly and members of 7-Man Panel of Inquiry from any further action pertaining to the impeachment proceeding of Prince Madumere but was informed at about 6 hours later that the members of Imo State House of Assembly had gone ahead with the purported impeachment of the Deputy Governor over frivolous allegations.

He said: “I am disappointed that Attorney-General, Hon. Miletus Nlemadim who should know the law and advise the House of Assembly appropriately but flagrantly allowed the House to do the wrong thing, thereby disobeying the Orders of the Court. It is very unfortunate that he was in court and allowed such illegality.”

Meanwhile Plaintiff’s lead counsel, Chief Njemamze (SAN), submitted that he had served motion ex parte on the respondents to appear in court to say what they know about the purported impeachment proceeding despite a subsisting court Order.

In defense, Hon Nlemadim prayed that some of the respondents had not received the motion summoning them to appear before the court.

It was revealed that respondents 4 to 8 were yet to have been served due to non-identification of the contact points.

To solve this, Chief Njemanze prayed that the respondents in question be served by substituted means through the Office of the Chief Judge since they are members of the 7 Man Panel constituted by the Chief Judge.

The presiding Judge, Hon. Justice Iheka, however, adjourned the matter to August 20, 2018, to enable all parties involved in the matter be served appropriately.

Comparisons are being made by legal pundits in Owerri over the penchant of Rochas Okorocha to impeach whoever he wants to,despite subsisting Court Orders. Just as he did to his first deputy governor, Agbaso, who simply felt frustrated enough not to fight on, so he gave up along the way. Madumere may not let Okorocha have his way this time.

Imo state may in the final analysis end up not having a functional deputy governor till May 29, 2019, when Rochas Okorocha would vacate the position of governor, giving way for a new administration.

Greg Abolo

Blogger at The Oasis Reporters.

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