The last has not been heard in the bickering, ill-feelings and locking of horns among leading politicians in Imo State. As it was rightly predicted long ago by keen political watchers that political downfall of the Deputy Governor, Prince Eze Madumere was imminent, the strain relationship between him and his principal, Governor Rochas Okorocha took a frightening dimension last Tuesday when13 State Assembly members issued the Deputy Governor what they called “Notice of Gross Misconduct.”
Just as the news of the notice was still filtering into the ears of the public, Speaker of the House, Acho Ihim during a plenary a day later came up with a directive asking the State Chief Judge, Justice Paschal Nnadi to set up a seven-man panel to investigate the allegation.
Below are excerpts of the notice, subsequent rejoinder of the embattled Imo number two citizen and the Speaker’s directive to the Chief Judge.
Notice of gross misconduct
We, the (13) members, numbering in excess of one-third of the membership of the Imo State House of Assembly, pursuant to S.188 (2) and (11) of the 1999 Constitution, hereby give notice that we are of the opinion that Prince Eze Madumere, Deputy Governor of Imo State of Nigeria, has committed the following gross misconduct in the performance of the functions of his office
- 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 (i) Failure/refusal to attend constitutionally mandated proceedings of the State Executive Council. (ii) Failure/refusal to attend Constitutional mandated proceedings of the Security Council.
- 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 and under S.193(2) of the 1999 Constitution.
4.Concealment of felonious conduct affecting the presentation of self as eligible candidate of Office of the Deputy-Governor Imo State, having been convicted and imprisoned for theft in the United States of America.
Deputy Governor’s response
“The office of the Deputy Governor of Imo State has received the notice of gross misconduct circulating around the state and on social networks signed by 13 members of Imo State House of Assembly.”
The statement which was issued by Madumere’s Special Assistant, Uche Onwuchekwa said, “The first claim of absence is rather an old ploy of calling a dog a bad name to hang it. Fortunately, the Deputy Governor of Imo State, Prince Eze Madumere is an administrator per excellence who does not joke with his duties especially his constitutional responsibilities. As such he has never absconded from office the period so claimed. He is constitutionally saddled with the responsibilities of superintending Boundary Commission.
“The 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 a criminal matter.
“We also challenge the members of the House of Assembly to produce the verdicts of the court that convicted Prince Madumere.”
The Release however added that the Deputy Governor has not been officially served with the notice as required by law.
Imo House directs Chief Judge to constitute panel
Meanwhile, the leadership of the Imo State House of Assembly has directed the Chief Judge of the state, Justice Paschal Nnadi to set up a seven-man panel to investigate allegation of gross misconduct against the state’s Deputy Governor, Prince Eze Madumere. According to Daily Sun, July 12, the Speaker gave the directive during the House plenary, Wednesday July 11, after 18 members who were present at the plenary unanimously adopted the recommendations of an Ad-hoc committee set up with the task of investigating the petition of gross misconduct against the deputy brought by 13 members of the House.
The Speaker said “The adoption of the ad-hoc committee’s report by the committee of the House means the deputy governor has a prima facie case to answer and should, therefore, be investigated on two of the allegations bordering on the absence from his office for 90 days without reasons and his refusal to attend both state executive council and the state security meeting…”
The House also directed the Chief Judge of the state to set up a seven-man panel of people with impeccable character and integrity, to investigate the allegations of gross misconduct against the deputy governor.
If the Deputy Governor is impeached, he will be the second Deputy Governor to be removed through impeachment under Governor Okorocha’s Administration. The first was Sir Jude Agbaso who was impeached in March 2013.