The Imo State Deputy Governor, Eze Madumere, says the impeachment notice by the State House of Assembly has not been properly served on him as stipulated by law.
The embattled deputy governor stated this Wednesday night in a statement signed by his Special Assistant, Uche Onwuchekwa.
According to Mr Onwuchekwa, the notice of impeachment was served on Tuesday afternoon on Nze Obinna Abatakwa, a Principal Secretary to the Deputy Governor, instead of being served on him directly.
“This is to inform the people of Imo State and indeed the general public, that on Tuesday 10th Day of July 2018, by 1:30pm at the office of the Deputy Governor, Government House, Owerri a purported notice of gross misconduct signed by some members of the Imo State House of Assembly was served on Nze Obinna Aharanwa, Principal Secretary to the Deputy Governor of Imo State”, said Mr Onwuchekwa.
He emphasised that the notice was not served on Mr Madumere personally as stipulated by the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
“Till date no such notice has been served on Prince Eze Madumere”, claimed Mr Onwuchekwa.
According to him, when and if any such notice is served on the deputy governor personally as required by law, he shall as a law abiding and responsible citizen of the state react to same personally.
Mr Onwumere had on Tuesday reacted to the impeachment notice where he described the allegations as frivolous and embarrassing. But he also appeared to have distanced himself from that reaction, insunating it was made by his aide without his instruction.
In that reaction, he claimed that he became aware of the notice via the social media.
“The earlier press statement issued by me yesterday (Tuesday) was done on my own accord and without reference to the Deputy Governor who had not been served personally and who is currently out of the State”, added Mr Onwuchekwa.
The House had on Tuesday set up a six-member committee headed by Kennedy Ibe, member representing Obowo Local Government Area, to probe the allegations of misconduct against Mr Madumere and report back to the House within seven days.
But surprisingly, the committee submitted its report about 48 hours later on Thursday, wherein it concluded that Mr Madumere has a case to answer.
The house then directed the chief judge of the state to set up a committee to look into the allegations against the deputy governor.
Mr Madumere had fallen out with Governor Rochas Okorocha over succession to the governorship seat next year when Mr Okorocha ends his second term.
Mr Okorocha, an All Progressive Congress (APC) governor, is backing his brother in-law, Uche Nwosu, while Mr Madumere is also in the race.
The deputy governor was said to have pitched tent with another faction to wrest control of the APC from Mr Okorocha during the party’s ward, local government and state congresses.
But the Federal High Court recently cancelled the congresses, following a suit by some supporters of Mr Okorocha and ordered fresh ones.
The impeachment plot has been brewing for sometime and is a widely interpreted as a continuation of the battle for 2019 between the governor and his deputy.
The House had last month suspended four lawmakers viewed as alleged loyal to the deputy governor and opposing the impeachment plot.
Another, lawmaker representing Oru West LGA, Donatus Onuigwe, who opposed the impeachment proceedings during Tuesday’s plenary, was also suspended by the house.