• Okorocha names Madumere as replacement
SURPRISE, and more surprises came out of Imo State Thursday. The polity there had been on edge for weeks.
The high point of the suspense was the impeachment of the Deputy Governor, Jude Agbaso, who had been under investigation by the House of Assembly over a bribery allegation.
One Mr. Joseph Dina, the managing director of JPROS International Nigeria Ltd, had alleged that he paid a bribe of N458 million to the deputy governor in lieu of future jobs. The deputy governor denied the accusation.
Notwithstanding, and without bating an eyelid minutes after the impeachment, the state governor, Chief Rochas Okorocha, submitted the name of the Chief of Staff, Government House, Mr. Eze Madumere, as the deputy governor-nominee.
The impeachment came amid protests over the authenticity of the process, as the panel, instituted by the Chief Judge of the state to look into the matter, only sat for a few hours before the House swung into action.
Twenty-three of the 27-member Assembly endorsed the impeachment, which took place amid tight security in the evening.
The Majority Leader of the Assembly, Adaku Ihuoma (Ahiazu Mbaise), moved the impeachment motion while the Minority Leader, Ngozi Pat-Ekeji (Aboh Mbaise) seconded it.
Earlier in the day, an Owerri High Court had declined jurisdiction in the suit filed by the deputy governor to stop the Assembly from going ahead with the removal process.
Almost at the same time in Lagos, the elder brother of the deputy governor, Martin Agbaso, presented documentary evidence to reporters, indicating that Mr. Joseph Dina, the man who allegedly bribed the deputy governor, may, after all, be the actual beneficiary of the bribe money.
Meanwhile, the Co-ordinator of Save Imo Group (SIG), Nze Ebubeagu Ekenulo and rights activist, Chief Lambert Adibe, have faulted the process.
They urged the Assembly members to apply the same speed to give attention to the impeachment letter presented to the Assembly to commence 13 impeachable offences against Governor Okorocha.
Ekenulo said: “I expect the members of the Assembly to begin to look into the letter of impeachment on the governor with the same speed and seriousness they employed against the deputy governor. I submitted 13 impeachable offences against the governor, Okorocha.”
In his reaction, Adibe said: “It is laughable and a flagrant abuse of legislative power. They should have allowed the seven-man panel to look into the matter, to find him guilty before slamming impeachment. This, therefore, makes the impeachment appear malicious.”