Impeachment: Enugu Assembly asks Chief Judge to set up panel against deputy governor

Sunday Onyebuchi, troubled Enugu state deputy governor

The embattled deputy governor may be removed within 14 days of the receipt of the report of the panel by the Assembly.

The Enugu State House of Assembly on Thursday asked the Chief Judge of the state, Innocent Umezurike, to set up a seven-member panel to investigate the allegations of gross misconduct against the deputy governor, Sunday Onyebuchi.

The Assembly, which asked the chief judge to set up the panel within seven days, demanded that its membership must conform to constitutional provisions.

This is coming a day after Mr. Onyebuchi, in a letter to the House, denied all the allegations raised by the lawmakers in the impeachment notice sent on July 24.

The House, which acted in accordance with Section 188 of the Constitution, had accused the deputy governor of gross misconduct in the performance of the functions of his office.

Specifically, it said Mr. Onyebuchi was running a poultry farm contrary to a resolution of the House prohibiting the maintenance of and operation of commercial livestock and poultry farms within residential neighbourhoods in Enugu metropolis.

Mr. Onyebuchi was also alleged to have on several occasions disobeyed the state governor, Sullivan Chime thereby violating Section 193 (1) of the Constitution.

Apart from denying the allegations, Mr. Onyebuchi expressed satisfaction that no allegation of corruption or fraud was levelled against him.

According to Section 188 (9) of the Constitution: “Where the report of the panel is that the allegation against the holder of the office has been proved, then within 14 days of the receipt of the report, the House of Assembly shall consider the report, and if by a resolution of the House of Assembly supported by not less than two-thirds majority of all its members, the report of the panel is adopted, then the holder of the office shall stand removed from office as from the date of the adoption of the report.”

Sources said the impeachment plot against the deputy governor was instigated by Mr. Chime, who is allegedly rooting for his Chief of Staff, Ifeoma Nwobodo, to become his deputy and thereafter contest election into the Senate in 2015.

Mrs. Nwobodo is from Enugu East Senatorial District as Mr. Onyebuchi. The District is currently represented in the upper legislative chamber by Gilbert Nnaji.

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