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The Enugu State governor-elect, Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, on Tuesday moved to save Governor Sullivan Chime over the impeachment notice served on him by a faction in the state House of Assembly.
Ugwuanyi brokered a truce between the warring factions in the assembly.Fifteen out of 24 members of the state assembly had on Monday commenced the impeachment process against Chime, accusing him of forgery, inflation of funds for state projects, and unlawful acquisition of public landed property.
But nine members of the House loyal to the governor and led by Hon Chinedu Nwamba, removed the speaker, Eugene Odoh, suspended some principal officers and adjourned sitting of the House indefinitely.
Ugwuanyi held a closed door meeting with the 24 members yesterday where they were reportedly asked to sheath their swords as efforts are made to resolve all the issues within the next two weeks.
At the end of the meeting, the two factions resolved to sheath their swords for the next two weeks, while efforts are made to restore peace and nomalcy to the legislature before the end of their tenure.
The lawmakers agreed to suspend any further public statements on the issue, pending the resolution of the crisis.
Spokespersons of the two groups, Hon. Michael Onyeze, representing Ignoeze North 1 constituency for the Odoh faction, and Hon Joseph Ugwumba,
representing Enugu-East rural constituency for Nwamba faction, said within the period of the two weeks, the assembly complex would remain under lock and key except in the event of an emergency where they are required to engage in legislative activity.
While applauding Ugwuanyi for swiftly intervening in the matter even when he was yet to assume office as the governor, the lawmakers agreed to be part of all the peace processes he had initiated in a bid to return the Assembly to one House.
Meanwhile, Governor Chime has dismissed the impeachment notice served on him by the lawmakers, describing it was an “exercise in futility.”
Addressing a news conference at the Government House, Monday night, the governor also described as false information in some quarters that he had been served the purported impeachment notice, explaining that he had rather received communication from the Clerk of the House, Christian Chukwurah.
He said the move by the group of 15 lawmakers did not comply with the provisions of Section 188 of the constitution which deals with how a governor or deputy governor can be removed from office, noting that the action coming about three weeks to the end of his tenure was not only targeted at causing mischief but was malicious.
“Looking at the provisions of the Constitution, they have clearly not complied with it. By the time the required number articulate the allegations against me, the speaker is required by law to within seven days, cause a notice to be served on me. I’ve not been served any notice of allegations, which simply means, they’ve not activated any action yet.
“More so, with the spate of suspensions and counter-suspensions, I don’t think they can even get the required two-thirds. What this simply means is that the matter is dead on arrival.
“By the time you look through the Constitution, you will discover the number of months it will take them to carry out that exercise. Maybe, I’m not really the one they are going to investigate.
“Perhaps, they are looking at the incoming government because by May 29, I will be out of this place. That is the folly in what they have set out to do.
“In their desperation, they overlooked due process. I can easily see what they are doing as a failed bid to investigate the governor. I’ve taken time to give these details because by tomorrow now, you will hear that the Chief Judge has refused to set up a panel. Let them hear it now that no CJ will listen to them,” he said.
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