By Chidiebere Onyemaizu
The Source has learnt that except there is a last minute change of heart, Imo state governor Rochas Okorocha will in the coming days install his Son-inlaw who is also his Chief of Staff, Uche Nwosu, as the new Deputy Governor of the state.The incumbent Deputy Governor, Prince Eze Madumere is set to be impeached by the State House of Assembly.
Sources told the Magazine that key loyalists of the governor have tried in vain to dissuade him from elevating Nwosu to the position of Deputy governor, pointing out the impropriety and political implications of, firstly, having his son-in law as Deputy governor, secondly of himself as the Governor and Nwosu as Deputy Governor coming from the same Orlu (Imo West) senatorial zone and thirdly the likely political backlash of such a move on the APC.
According to Government House sources, Okorocha is insisting on his Son in-law as Madumere’s replacement because he wants him to contest the 2019 gubernatorial election in the state as a sitting Deputy Governor. The governor is also said to have vowed to teach his political enemies a bitter lesson and demonstrate that he is the grandmaster of Imo politics by crowning Uche Deputy Governor first, and then go on to install him governor next year.
Madumere, a long standing ally of the governor fell out with Okorocha following his (Madumere) insistence on going ahead with his governorship ambition.Okorocha has anointed Nwosu who is married to his first daughter as his successor and subsequently directed Madumere to vie for Imo East (Owerri) senatorial seat instead, a directive the Deputy Governor spurned, saying his political future does not lie in his principal’s hand.
The embattled,together with Senators Hope Uzodinma, Ben Uwajimogu, Osita Izunaso, Ifeanyi Ararume, Imo state APC Chairman,Hilary Eke and many other party bigwigs, were later to form a coalition that wrestled Imo APC structure from Okorocha during that party’s state congresses in May.
However, breather came the governor’s way at the APC National Convention in June where the party’s governors had a field day with a ‘unity list’ that shut out their perceived opponents in their various states, Imo inclusive.
Before the commencement of the impeachment proceedings, lawmakers loyal to Madumere were suspended by the House over what the Speaker described as “unparliamentary conducts”.
Among the impeachable offences 13 members of Imo state House of Assembly who signed the impeachment notice leveled against Madumere include failure to perform any of the constitutional functions of Deputy Governor, refusal to meet with the governor and Commissioners and conviction and imprisonment in the US for theft. The office of the Deputy Governor has however dismissed the charges, describing them as giving a dog a bad name in order to hang it.
Special Assistant on Media to the Deputy Governor, Uche Onwuchekwa in a statement said Madumere is an astute administrator who does not joke with his responsibilities, especially constitutional responsibilities and as such never absconded from office within the period claimed in the impeachment notice.
Madumere’s current travails, watchers of Imo politics opine, stem from his differences with Okorocha. “Most members of the Imo state House of Assembly members are Okorocha’s stoges; they are rubber stamp legislators and are ready to lick his bottom, especially when cash has exchanged hands , that is the reason you are seeing this charade called impeachment proceedings. Madumere is innocent of the spurious charges against him”, a former lawmaker who left the House in 2015 told The Source .
Meanwhile, political stakeholders in Owerri zone have accused Okorocha of penchant to deliberately set up the zone’s sons to destroy their political careers through spurious impeachments. They recall that the governor in 2011 came to office on a joint ticket with Jude Agbaso as Deputy Governor only to frame him up two years later and had him impeached.
The stakeholders rue that another son of the zone, Madumere, is about to suffer the same fate and warned that Okorocha will pay dearly for his actions.