Enugu State Chief Judge Innocent Umezulike has inaugurated a seven-man panel to investigate allegations of gross misconduct in the impeachment notice served on the Deputy Governor, Mr. Sunday Onyebuchi.
Onyebuchi is facing impeachment proceedings initiated by the House of Assembly.
The panel includes Oraekeyi Franklin, who is a lawyer, as the chairman, Pastor Uluakanwa Oko, Nnamdi Onyemuru (lawyer), Maxwell Eze (lawyer), Mrs. Praise Anyim, Aroh Okwuchukwu and Anthony Iguh.
The chief judge urged the members to perform their “constitutional function in a manner that would elicit commendation rather than condemnation from legal and constitutional historians.”
Umezuluike, reminding them that the state’s constitutional or democratic history would never be complete without a chapter of the functions they were about to perform, hoped that that they would discharge their functions without fear or favour.
He said: “I must pause here to point out that the chairman and members of this panel have been carefully chosen to ensure that there are no cleavages that could hinder the effective and impartial performance of the functions they are about to perform.
“I must inform you that that the glue that holds you together is your uncommon integrity and non-partisanship in political activities.”
The chief judge added that their “activities during this period would be monitored with a detective eye and so you must conduct yourselves like Caesar’s wife.”
Orakaeyi assured that they were not selected to witch-hunt anybody, adding: “We are not politicians and we fully appreciate the nature of our duty, which is akin to that of an umpire.”
He promised that the panel would ensure equity, fairness, justice and neutrality in order to justify the confidence reposed in them.
Orakaeyi said their proceedings shall be guided by the rules made by the House of Assembly pursuant to Section 188(7) of the 1999 Constitution as amended.
“I want to also point out, for the benefit of the people that will appear before us that this panel is not a court of law. It is a fact-finding panel of enquiry or investigation and as such, we shall not allow technicalities to be a clog in the wheel of proceedings,” he warned.