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Jubilation as court nullifies Imo deputy gov’s impeachment

Jubilation as court nullifies Imo deputy gov’s impeachment

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Chidiebube Okeoma and Gibson Achonu, Owerri

Jubilation erupted in Owerri, the Imo State capital, on Tuesday, after Justice Benjamin Iheaka declared the impeachment of the Deputy Governor of the state, Eze Madumere, which was carried out by the members of the state House of Assembly on July 31, illegal, inconsequential and of no constitutional backing.

Delivering the judgment which lasted for three hours in a tension-soaked court hall, the jurist flayed the Chief Judge of the state, Paschal Nnadi,  and the Attorney-General of the state, Militus Nlemadim,  for not adhering to the provisions of Section 188 (5) of the 1999 Constitution as amended in the impeachment  proceedings against Madumere.

Iheaka scolded the Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Acho Ihim (9th defendant), and the state House of Assembly (10th defendant) for violating an interim order he issued restraining the impeachment process against Madumere on July 30.

Apart from voiding the impeachment, the court equally restrained the Speaker of the House, Ihim, and the legislature from “in whatsoever manner carrying further impeachment proceedings against Madumere until the matter is exhaustively concluded.”

It equally restrained “the 4th to 8th defendants from in whatsoever manner investigating the allegations of gross misconduct as alleged by the members of the state House of Assembly until the matter is conclusively heard.”

The jurist contended that the CJ constituted the seven-man panel to investigate the allegations of gross misconduct against Madumere by the state House of Assembly outside the seven days lifeline as provided for in the constitution.

He lambasted the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Nlemadim, for arguing that the Speaker and the legislature were not in court on July 30 and were not served the interim order of the court restraining them from impeaching the now reinstated deputy governor.

Addressing his supporters after the judgment was delivered, the reinstated deputy governor said he was victimised because he opposed anti-people’s policies by the state government.

Madumere said “It is a victory for constitutional democracy. I want to commend the judiciary for the courage against all odds.”

“Today’s judgment is historic and has reinvigorated the faith of our people. Indeed, the judiciary has proved that it is the last hope of the common man. It has been a battle against intimidation, threat, oppression but the truth is God prevailed.

“I commend the three Mbaise brothers, who are members of the Imo state House of Assembly, who refused to join in the impeachment: Mr Mike Iheanetu, Bruno Ukoha, and Ken Agbim. They are of the Peoples Democratic Party, but they stood by me.

“My crime was that I said no to anti-people’s policies and it has been intimidation and threats all this while. But it is a journey of grace and we shall succeed.”

Reacting to the judgment, Professor Francis Dike (SAN), said,” The court judgment shows independence of the judiciary. I congratulate the young judge for being bold. The judgment has also shown that the whole saga surrounding the deputy governor’s impeachment almost perverted the course of justice. The people who accused the deputy governor, became “judges” themselves. The present administration in Imo State should now sit and follow things the right way.”

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