Imo boils over 2019 succession: Okorocha initiates impeachment of deputy governor

The political battle in Imo State in the post-APC convention period for the survival of the governor, Rochas Okorocha, and accomplishment of the succession agenda of imposing the governor’s son-in-law as Imo Governor in 2019, has been strengthened to annihilate opposition forces within the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC). Governor Okorocha who attributed his defeat in the wards, local governments and state congresses of the APC in Imo State to the Deputy Governor Eze Madumere, is seemingly fighting back using the state legislature to impeach the deputy governor on allegations of gross misconduct.

This appears to be second phase of the battle Okorocha launched to fight his way back to reckoning and relevance in Imo APC leadership after he used the federal might to frustrate the Imo candidate Senator Osita Izunaso, former APC National Organising Secretary, for re-election into the party’s National Working Committee at the Saturday, June 23 national convention in Abuja.

Accordingly, the Imo State Assembly on Tuesday commenced impeachment proceedings against the Deputy Governor, Eze Madumere, on allegations of gross misconduct.

The lawmakers are accusing the deputy governor of gross misconduct which they listed include  dereliction of duties, not attending State Executive Council (SEC) meetings, absent from State Security Council Meeting, not attending meetings with the governor, not going to office.

National Daily the proceedings from Lagos, learnt that in a petition presented by the Deputy Speaker, Nnanna Ozuruigbo, and signed by 13 out of the 27 members of the House, the Deputy Governor was accused of absconding from his office over three months without permission and, therefore, should be impeached.

Other allegations include the failure to carry out official duties assigned him by the governor, refusal to attend State Executive Council Meetings, and refusal to hold meetings with the governor and commissioners in the state.

Accordingly, a six-man investigation panel has been constituted to probe the allegations and report back to the House within seven days.

Meanwhile, the Special Assistant on Media to the Deputy Governor, Uche Onwuchekwa, said the office of the Deputy Governor has not been served any notice of impeachment, contending that the allegations leveled against his principal are malicious, concocted and false.

Governor Okorocha has been having a running battle with Imo APC stakeholders over his imposition of his son-in-law, his Chief of Staff, Uche Nwosu, as his successor in 2019 without approval of the party.
The stakeholders successfully shifted the battle to the various congresses from the wards to the local and state governments conducted in Imo State, defeating Governor Okorocha in all the grassroots elections. The defeat reflected a strong signal that Okorocha has lost control of the party structures in the state while a sitting governor. This constituted strong obstacle to his agenda to enthrone his anointed successor in 2019 because the delegates that will election APC candidate for the 2019 governorship election will be selected from the existing party structure.

Okorocha had accused the Deputy Governor of conniving with his opponents who he identified as APC National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, and APC former National Organising Secretary, Senator Osita Izunaso, to frustrate his party leadership in the state.

Indeed, Okorocha accused Oyegun of conniving with his political enemies in Imo State to dethrone him, threatening to fight back.

Governor Okorocha had stated that his opposition as Chairman of the Progressives Governors’ Forum, to tenure elongation of the APC National Working Committee (NWC), might have angered Oyegun, culminating in his connivance to frustrate and truncate his political future using the ongoing congresses of the party.

The Imo Governor further attacked Izunaso, Senator Hope Uzodimma and Senator Ben Uwajumogu, accusing them of nefarious activities in dethroning him as APC leader in the state.

Successfully obstructing the re-election of Izunaso as APC National Organizing Secretary at eh national convention, using the federal might, the embattled Imo Governor is perceived to be going for the head of the deputy governor now facing impeachment proceedings.