Many troubles of Imo deputy governor, Eze Madumere
Since 2013, Okorocha has been working with Eze Madumere before things went bad. According to records, the duo have known each other on a master /servant level for 25 years.
When Madumere signified his intention to succeed his master in 2018, the master / servant relationship began to witness a crack.
The situation gradually degenerated into a gaping political hole.
Before then, the two had functioned together, leading to Madumere receiving accolades from the public as the most loyal deputy governor in the federation.
But the relationship got weakened when Okorocha told his audience that he had tipped his son-in-law, Chief Uche Nwosu, as his likely successor, adducing reasons that he was sure that Nwosu, who marries Okorocha’s first daughter, Uloma, was the only individual he was sure could retain his legacies, including the free education policy.
He subsequently urged Madumere, who had wanted to succeed him, to vie for the Imo East (Owerri Zone) Senatorial District seat.
Unconfirmed reports say the office of the Deputy Governor has been deprived financial support, following a lid put on funds allocated to the office about six months ago. The funds are in several millions of naira.
It was said that Madumere, afterwards, left his official quarters at Deputy Governor’s Lodge in Owerri, relocating to his ancestral home in Achi Mbieri, Mbaitoli, operating from there.
Nwosu has served as Imo State Deputy Chief of Staff, Commissioner for Lands, Survey and Urban Planning, among other positions, before he was appointed the Chief of Staff, Government House, Owerri.
Till date, heavy paraphernalia of office is available to Nwosu, making him more powerful than the deputy governor.
Madumere, after measuring the length of years he had served Okorocha, following his return from the United States (U.S), decided for the first time, to disobey him.
There is the argument that it should be the turn of Owerri (Imo East), Senatorial Zone, comprising nine Local Government Areas, where Madumere comes from, to produce governor in 2019.
They argued that Udenwa from Orlu Zone where Okorocha hails from ruled for eight years, stressing that Ohakim from Okigwe zone ruled for four years.
But for Okorocha, zone should be jettisoned, claiming that credibility and individual’s capacity should be the yardstick.
Madumere, no doubt, considered himself as next in line, having known and served his master for not less than10 -15 years before Nwosu came in contact with Okorocha.
There had been rumour of Okorocha planning with others to remove his deputy. But on different occasions, those allegations were dismissed.
But the escalation of the disagreement emerged when Madumere was suspected to have joined forces with the Coalition Allied Force in the APC, in the state, an opposition force, which had Senators Ifeanyi Ararume, Ben Uwajumogu, Osita Izunaso (immediate past National Organising Secretary of APC); a one time Commissioner for Information and Strategy under Okorocha administration, Dr. Theodore O.E. Ekechi, among others.
The group, The Guardian gathered, was formed to frustrate the son-in-law as successor. They succeeded in hijacking the congresses of the APC away from Okorocha. Federal High Court in Owerri, presided over by Justice Lewis Allagua, recently nullified the congresses.
Okorocha fought hard to upturn the successes made by the coalition group, by ensuring that his preferred candidate, Emma Ibediro, a lawyer and a serving Commissioner for Local Government in the state, emerged as the National Organising Secretary of the APC in the recently concluded national convention.
The governor quickly inaugurated a committee of the party to reconcile aggrieved persons, but soon after that, 13 legislators, on Tuesday, July 10, 2018, led by the Deputy Speaker of the Imo State House of Assembly, Ugonna Ozuruigbo (Nwangele constituency), submitted a petition with six charges, accusing Madumere of gross misconduct in office, including: “Failure to perform any of the constitutional functions of his office; being absent from his office for three months without official reason or permission; failure to attend constitutionally mandated proceedings of the state Executive Council and proceedings of the State Security Council; refusal to attend and meet with the State Governor and Commissioners of the state for governance made compulsory by section 193 (2) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended.”
Immediately, a committee chaired by Kennedy Ibeh (APC), was inaugurated by the Speaker, Acho Ihim. They were given seven days to submit their report to the House.
But the next day, the committee turned in its report, urging the House to ask the Chief Judge of the state, Paschal Nnadi, to raise a judicial panel of seven persons, comprising men of unquestionable integrity to investigate Madumere in view of weighty issues therein.
The Clerk of the House, Chris Duru was directed to send the decision of 19 members who filed out to sign the decision.
For reasons adduced by the House as un-parliamentary conduct, a member of the Assembly representing Oru West, Donatus Onuigwe, was suspended indefinitely the day the 13 members submitted their petition.
Before then, on June 27, 2018, four legislators were suspended for what their colleagues referred to as ‘un-parliamentary conduct.’
Those suspended are Dr. Uche Oguwuike (Ikeduru Constituency); Nkenna Nzeruo (Oru East); Collins Chiji (IsialaMbano) and Ifeanyi Nnataronye (Mbaitoli Constitutuency).
The Assembly’s Majority Leader, Lugard Osuji (APC, Owerri Municipal) moved the motion and was supported by Lawman Duruji (APC, Ehime Mbano).
Many believed that the move was designed to disallow the suspended legislators from participate in the removal process of the Deputy Governor. The allegation has since been dismissed by the Assembly.
Meanwhile, one of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) lawmakers in the State Assembly, Mike Ihenetu, representing Aboh Mbaise State Constituency, decried the disunity among the people of Owerri Senatorial zone (Imo East) where Madumere comes from.
Ihenetu, expressed sadness that security operatives initially refused him entry into the Assembly Complex because he did not come in his official car, until he was made to go back home and later allowed into the premises in his official car on the day the 19 members signed and forwarded the petition to the Chief Judge.
In response, the Deputy Governor’s Special Assistant on Media, Uche Onwuchekwa, said Madumere has been served notice of the impeachment document alleging gross misconduct as required by law, adding that the Deputy Governor’s Principal Secretary, Nze Obinna Aharanwa, received it.
But on Wednesday, Onwuchekwa issued another statement denying that his boss received such document.
PDP Set To Gain From APC Trouble
As the crises continue to brew, the PDP, which is the main opposition party, is warming up to capitalise on the political imbroglio.
The Publicity Secretary of the party in the state, Damian Opara, told The Guardian that people had since lost confidence in the administration pattern in the state, disclosing that the latest crises at the Government House, would be used by the PDP to make their case.
Also, Former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives and a PDP governorship aspirant in the state under the PDP platform, Emeka Ihedioha, in a statement issued by his Media aide, Chibuike Onyeukwu, described the planned impeachment as ‘undemocratic, irresponsible, illegitimate, irrational and egocentric.’
Ihedioha said: “ The incontrovertible move, being undertaken by Governor Okorocha and Imo House of Assembly is a colossal assault on all known democratic tenets, including freedom of choice, freedom of association and the right of an individual to aspire to any political position in the land.
The present, unfathomable and inherent danger lies in the manner Governor Okorocha is wheedling the state lawmakers to plunder the mandate of the people on flimsy, narrow-minded and self-centered basis, contrary to the prescriptions of the relevant sections of the Constitution
“Governor Rochas Okorocha’s penchant for intimidation and betrayal is evidently legendary.
This was evidenced in the manner, he supervised the impeachment of his former Deputy, Chief Jude Agbaso, whose family provided the platform with which he attained the position of Chief Executive of the state in 2011.
It is also the same inclination that accounts for his desperation to remove Prince Madumere who has been known to be his greatest loyalist for over two decades.
If he succeeds in impeaching Prince Madumere, that would inappropriately amount to denting the political records of two illustrious sons of Imo within his two-term in office,” he said.
In a similar manner, a group from Madumere’s zone, Olu Owerri Unity Association, described the removal exercise by the Assembly as ‘unsavory and unwarranted,’ warning that the state is sitting on a keg of gunpowder.