Enugu Assembly moves to impeach deputy governor
APC urges House to withdraw impeachment notice
Enugu State lawmakers began yesterday the impeachment of Deputy Governor Sunday Onyebuchi.
They directed the Clerk, Dr. Christopher Chukwurah, to serve the Speaker a notice of impeachment.
The notice, containing the allegations against Onyebuchi, was signed by 22 members of the 24.
The only member, who declined to sign, is the younger brother of the Deputy Senate President, Mr. Mathias Ekweremadu.
Moving a motion for the notice of impeachment for alleged gross misconduct, the Assembly Leader, S.K.E. Udeh Okoye, representing Awgu North, said they were exercising the powers vested in the House by Section 188(1)–(9) of the 1999 Constitution.
Two allegations – abuse of office and disobedience of lawful directives of the governor –were brought against the deputy governor.
Okoye, outlining the allegations, said the deputy governor between February 2013 and February 2014 “wrongfully deployed the resources of his office and exercised the powers thereof to resist and ridicule the implementation of a public health policy of the Enugu State government.”
He said Onyebuchi in defiance to the resolution of the Assembly maintained and operated commercial livestock and poultry farms on the premises of his official residential quarters.
The deputy governor was also said to have “habitually refused, failed and or neglected to carry out and or perform the functions of his office as directed by the governor pursuant to Section 193(1) of the Constitution without excuse.”
Giving details of the disobedience, Okoye alleged: “On March 11, the deputy governor was directed by the governor to represent him at the launch of the construction of the 2nd Niger Bridge in Onitsha by President Goodluck Jonathan, but he refused.
“Onyebuchi also refused to represent the governor at the Southeast Governors’ Forum held at the Lion Building, Enugu on July 6.”
He said the deputy governor’s “defiance has adversely affected and will continue to affect the smooth running of the government, and he will continue to do so if not removed from office.”
Onyebuchi was given one week to respond to the allegations.
Speaker Eugene Odoh said there would be no further debate on the notice until “we hear the side of His Excellency, Deputy Governor Sunday Onyebuchi.”
The All Progressives Congress (APC) said it was outraged when it received the disturbing news that the Enugu State House of Assembly had served notice of impeachment on Deputy Governor Sunday Onyebuchi.
In a statement by the party’s spokesman in the Southeast, Osita Okechukwu, it said a closer study of the items listed are allegations, such as disobedience of the directive prohibiting the maintenance of commercial livestock in residential quarters, disobedience of lawful directive to represent Governor Sullivan Chime in the Southeast Governors’ Forum and the launch of the construction of the 2nd Niger Bridge.
“Whereas, we are not holding brief for Chief Onyebuchi, the APC Southeast is of the view that the items listed are flimsy allegations. Therefore, we appeal to the House to withdraw the flimsy petitions forthwith.
“We are making this appeal not only for the sustenance of our fledgling democracy, but also in the collective interest of the good people of Enugu State, a peaceful citizenry that may not wish to return to the dark insecure days of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leadership in the state.
“We challenge the House to stop the impeachment, otherwise it is only a rubber stamp Assembly that will base the impeachment of a deputy governor on a poultry, which was demolished months ago,” the party said.
The statement advised that taking a cue from the letter of one of the leaders of the APC, Maj.- Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) to President Goodluck Jonathan, “we submit, whether Governor Chime is behind the impeachment or the utilisation of desperate tactics to suffocate Onyebuchi, the deputy governor. He cannot pretend not to know, since it is happening under his watch.”
APC urged Chime to call the House to order, “to maintain the harmonious and peaceful atmosphere that subsists in Enugu.”
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