Source: Chukwuemeka Okoro,Esq.

Okorocha's latest and unfortunate move involving political maneuvering, disregard to rule of law and flagrant abuse of legislative rules and procedure aimed at unseating his deputy, Prince Eze Madumere, is one reckless venture capable of demoting him.

Recall that Madumere's disapproval to Okorocha's succession plan which favoured his son-inlaw and chief of staff, Uche Nwosu, had put him on head-on-collusion against his former boss. The Achi Mbieri born political strategist had rejected the Owerri Senatorial seat earlier appropriated via an in-house mock primary election staged by Okorocha. Upon this rejection, Madumere, who was generally known as the engine room of Okorocha's government was maliciously bullied and locked out of the government house.

It is absolutely correct to posit that Madumere's insistence to pursue his gubernatorial ambition and subsequent realignment within the APC infuriated and badly unsettled Okorocha who perhaps thought that his deputy lacks sufficient capacity and wherewithal to do so. A rattled but unhappy Okorocha would resort to impeachment as a weapon as he launched a political warfare against Madumere. This incontrovertibly becomes the situation as the Acho Ihim-led 8th Assembly undisputedly turns a willing tool whenever money filled Ghana-must-go bags are delivered to them.

However, the contentious aspect of the Executive recklessness and legislative rascality are the invalidity and unconstitutionality of the exercise purporting the impeachment of Madumere as Imo State Deputy Governor. The Governor and his lawmakers within the illusion of their imagination claim to have impeached Mdumere and also approved the nomination of one Callistus Ekenze as his successor. They also claimed to have halted Ekenze's inauguration in obedience to a separate court order(which never exist). If the positions of the Governor and his lawmakers are in tandem with the law, then Imo is presently running without a Deputy Governor. This suggests that Okorocha's Imo is like an airplane cruising without a co-pilot. This, constitutionally, invalidates Okorocha's governorship as it stands today.

Section 187(1) of the 1999 Constitution of the FRN As Amended, Provides thus…”A candidate for the office of Governor of a State shall not be deemed to have validly nominated for such office unless he nominates another candidate as his associate for his running for the office of the Governor”. This including other sections portray the lawful fact that a Governor CANNOT at any point in time operate without a Deputy Governor. But this is not the situation with Imo State as at today, if the argument of Okorocha and his Legislative boys is anything to go by..However, if they say that there is no breach of the Constitution or that Okorocha's continues Occupation of the Govt House as the Governor of Imo State is lawful, it simply presuposes and they should not hesitate that to concur that prince Eze Madumere remains the Deputy Governor of Imo State.

But suffice to say that Okorocha and his people are merely displaying crass ignorance of the law. The governor and his boys in Imo Assembly should be tutored to understand that they never impeached Madumere. No separate court order was obtained for the purposes of halting Ekenze's swearing-in. A valid court order was duly obtained from the High of Imo State which lawfully restrained the state Chief Judge from constituting the panel that purportedly churned out whatever report that formed the nexus of the purported impeachment and in fact,ordered a stop of the entire exercise. . You can't disobey an order of a court and later choose a part for obedience. That is fallacious and hypocritical. As a matter of fact, Gov. Okorocha has for umpteenth times mocks the judiciary and, indeed, the entire nation by this very action.

In strict legal sense, Prince Eze Madumere is and validly remains the Deputy Governor of Imo State.

Looking at the facts surrounding the purported impeachment process from another angle, one needs no soothsayer to conclude that the impeachment(Prince Eze Madumere) was a mere exercise in futility. A Deputy Governor cannot be impeached without the Chief Judge of the State setting up a Panel that will comprise persons who in his own opinion are of unquestionable Intergrity, not being members of any public service, legislative house or political party.(See Section 188(5) of our Constitution).

Since there was an Order of Court restraining the Members from continuation of the impeachment process and restraining the Chief Judge from setting up the Panel, there was an Order before the conclusion of the purported impeachment process, those that masterminded the impeachment cannot take the benefit of section 188(9) &(10).

The resultant effect is that the Deputy Governor-Madumere remains the Deputy Governor of Imo State and must be treated as such with all constitutional rights and privileges attached to the office of the Deputy Governor. Failure to treat him as such, the Governor's continued stay in that office without a Deputy Governor is illegal. Having decided to uphold the rule of law by obeying the Order of court, he(Gov. Rochas Okorocha) should immediately release all the entitlements of Eze Madumere as the Deputy Governor of Imo State and warn his Legislative boys not to try the horrible practice in our modern day democracy again.

It is therefore expected that Gov. Okorocha toes the constitutional and moral path to avoid breakdown of law and order in Imo State. The governor should be reminded that 'it is not everything a man can do that he should do'. Having masterminded the impeachment of his first deputy, Sir Jude Agbaso, in a controversial manner too, the governor should retrace his steps and allow Madumere to serve out the remaining few months of his tenure as Deputy Governor of Imo State. We watch as the legal firework resumes on Monday.


SOURCE :The Nigerian Voice (opinions)


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