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Impeachment: Enugu Assembly Directs CJ to Set Up Panel against Deputy Governor

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The ongoing impeachment proceedings against Enugu State Deputy Governor, Sunday Onyebuchi, entered another phase yesterday as the House of Assembly asked the Chief Judge of the state, Justice Innocent Umezurike, to set up a seven-man panel to investigate the allegations of gross misconduct levelled against the embattled deputy governor.

The latest resolution was sequel to the receipt of a reply to the allegations by the deputy governor in which he denied all the allegations, expressing delight however that none of the allegations bothered on financial impropriety.

The CJ was given seven days within which to set up the panel whose membership must be in line with constitutional provisions.

The leader of the assembly Hon S.K. E. Ude-Okoye, who moved the motion for the investigation of the allegations by the committee to be set up,  told the assembly that the deputy governor was served the notice through a substituted means.

Ude-Okoye said he was moving the motion for the constitution of the committee by the chief judge of the state based on the provisions of Section 188(5) of the 1999 Constitution.

Ude-Okoye’s motion was seconded by Hon. Kevin Ukuta and supported by 19 other members of the assembly. Twenty of the 24 members had initially signed the impeachment notice against Onyebuchi.

The deputy governor in his response to allegations preferred against him by the assembly did not only deny the alleged running an illegal poultry but also described as false allegation that he refused to obey lawful directive from the governor, Sullivan Chime.

He insisted that no complaint of any environmental or health hazard from the said poultry was made to him or brought to his attention between 2008 and November 2013.

Onyebuchi deposed that the poultry was in existence since the days of Dr. Micheal Okpara in the 1960s and had been in use by those who occupied the official quarters.

“It is important to state that the structure for the said poultry farm was built by Dizengorf WA Limited during the regime of the late Okpara. 

The first occupant of the premises was the late Chief Nwodo and he operated a poultry farm there.  Subsequent occupants of the premises, up to my immediate predecessor in office, operated poultry farms in the premises.  Similar structures were built by Okpara in most of what was then known as “Ministers’ Quarters.”  Indeed, till date, the Government House, Enugu, also has an Agricultural Unit, larger than the one in my official quarters, where a large poultry farm continues to be maintained.”

On the allegation of disobedience to the governor, the deputy governor has this to say: “Let me start by saying that on June 9, 2014, HE the Governor commenced his 2014 annual vacation.  This was made public through various news media.  He did not tell me to take any action on his behalf pending his return, and I am not aware that he sent a formal letter to the Enugu State House of Assembly informing the assembly that he was proceeding on vacation.  The governor did not tell me to take any action on his behalf pending his return, neither did he tell me that he would pass instructions to me through a third party.  I did not receive instructions from him personally, by phone or in writing asking me to represent him at the meeting of the South East Governors Forum that took place in Enugu on July 6, 2014. 

“I did not have any reason not to represent him if he had so instructed me to do so.  I do not think it is appropriate for a deputy governor to act in the absence of the governor deriving authority from a subordinate or based on press release to the effect that the governor handed over to his deputy.  

“When the governor resumed duty after his vacation, I represented him at various occasions even after he had asked me to resign. On Friday July 18, I represented the governor at the inauguration of the Power Training Institute at Oji River with the. Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chief Emeka Wogu.  On Monday, July, 21 while my impeachment notice was being signed by the members of the state House of Assembly at Government House Enugu, I was at Udi representing the governor at the inauguration of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) Academy at Udi with the then Corp Marshall, Osita Chidoka.

“I wish to place on record the fact that when the governor spent a prolonged period abroad in 2013, I held forte for him and represented him at various events.  It is not correct to say that I have defied the governor’s directives, or persisted in defying his directives.

“I have over the years remained a loyal deputy, and it is a shame that it is merely a few months to the end of our second tenure that I have had these allegations levelled against me.  I make bold to say that I have always considered the governor a brother and a friend.”
Onyebuchi said he was glad that non of the allegations bordered on corruption or fraud.

Article Credit: Thisdaylive

Updated 4 Years ago

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Tags:     Enugu State     Sullivan Chime     Deputy Governor     Sunday Onyebuchi     Justice Innocent Umezurike     Hon S.K. E. Ude-Okoye     Hon. Kevin Ukuta     Dr. Micheal Okpara     Chief Emeka Wogu