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Madumere: Tough times for a daring Deputy Governor

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Rochas Okorocha

Prince Eze Madumere still sees himself as the Deputy Governor of Imo State, despite his alleged removal from office by 19 out of 27 members of the Imo State House of Assembly. This, he has variously touted going by statements issued by his media aide, Uche Onwuchekwa, days after the lawmakers claimed to have carried out the act. Statements continued to be issued, purportedly emanating from the Office of the Deputy Governor.

Though Madumere is fighting hard, legally, constitutionally and using consultations to frustrate efforts of the lawmakers and their sponsors, thus preventing the Chief Judge of the State (CJ) from swearing-in Calistus Ekenze, as the new deputy governor, he is yet to be attain victory. He has not backed out of his political aspiration to succeed Governor Rochas Okorocha come 2019.

Madumere has been in a running battle with his principal, Okorocha, his supposed political godfather for 25 years, for allegedly refusing to accept Okorocha’s proposal to allow his son-in-law, Uche Nwosu, to succeed his father-in-law. Subsequently, Madumere was accused of working with his principal’s detractors.

Madumere was also said to have rejected the request by Okorocha to go to the Senate and represent the 9 Local Government Areas of Owerri zone.
He was said to have rejected that offer, insisting on the number one job in the state, thus aligning with the Coalition of Allied Forces in the APC to sideline Okorocha.

The coalition members who are political opponents of Okorocha include, Senators Ifeanyi Ararume, Osita Izunaso, Benjamin Uwajumogu, former commissioners of Information and Strategy; Commerce, Dr. Theodore Ekechi and Uche Best Mbanaso, former Secretary to the Imo State Government, Jude Ejiogu.

As the face-off deepened, Madumere was accused by lawmakers of gross misconduct of office, including absenting himself from office for about three months; concealing a past conviction in the United States; not attending the State Executive and Security Council meetings, among others.

A committee led by the member representing Obowo Constituency in the Assembly, Kennedy Ibe, was raised to investigate the allegations against Madumere.

On July 11, the lawmakers submitted their report, agreeing to the allegations and urging the House to proceed to the next stage. Subsequently, 19 members signed the document urging the state’s CJ to raise a seven-man panel to investigate Madumere, as required in section 188 (6) and section 193 (2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

On July 30, the House met and removed Madumere from office as the Deputy Governor of Imo State.

That same day, a High Court presided by Justice Benjamin Iheka, issued an order restraining the Imo House of Assembly from proceeding with the impeachment process, pending the hearing of the matter on notice.

Stalemate
The lawmakers claim to have removed Madumere and the State Government has instructed security personnel to lock his office, waiting for his replacement to move in.

The government is also hamstrung by the judgment and unable to swear-in a new deputy governor.

The matter before the High Court will resume on September 3, 2018.

Madumere’s Chances In The APC
Despite his woes Madumere appears not demoralized. He has bought vehicles for his campaign, rented an office along Okigwe Road, Owerri, with massive billboard, in attempt to expand his political fortune. He still aligns with the Hilary Eke-led faction of the APC. There are now two factions of the party in Imo State – Eke and Dan Nwafor camps.

Eke had been ground during the regime of John Oyegun. But on assumption of office, Adams Oshiomhole ordered another round of congresses after Okorocha had faulted the previous exercises during which his camp lost out.

In agreement with Okorocha, another set of officials from Abuja came +and conducted fresh congresses at the ward, local government and state levels in obedience to a Federal High Court order in Owerri presided by Justice Lewis Allagua, nullifying and ordering fresh congresses. Though the group from Allied Forces appealed against that judgment, the congresses held empowering Okorocha to take over the party in the state.

Despite this state of confusion, Madumere has dismissed rumour of his defection to, the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA), African Democratic Party (ADC), or any other party.

His aide in a recent statement said: “We wish to urge the general public to disregard the rumour making the rounds, especially on social media, that the Deputy Governor of Imo State and frontline governorship hopeful, Prince Eze Madumere, has dumped All Progressives Congress, APC, for African Democratic Congress, ADC, and that there is no modicum of truth in it.

The Deputy Governor is not just a member of APC but a founding member of the party, hence, we view the material being circulated around as not only mischievous but a mere figment of the imagination of the conceiver.

“His Excellency, the Deputy Governor of Imo State, Prince Eze Madumere will not leave All Progressives Congress for anybody despite the raging injustices, coupled with abrasive efforts to shut him out and frustrate him out of the party he helped to establish and build.”

Madumere has said he will not be stopped from achieving his aim. He urged the public to stand by him despite his political problems.

He charged Imolites to: “Rise up and fight for your right. Do not allow anyone to usurp your freedom of expression, association and freedom to aspire to be whatever you wish to be. We must fight for equity, fair play and justice. It is only when we have these ingredients in our society that we can make the needed progress.”

As things stand, it is difficult to say how far Madumere can go to claim victory. His hope is the judiciary, whose slow grinding wheel does not run at the same speed with political actions. It will take political miracle given the facts on ground, for Madumere to retrieve the keys to his office, as well as succeed Okorocha, using the APC platform. Yes, he could sail to victory at the courts, perhaps, after this timeout.


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