•I’ll challenge my removal –Onyebuchi
•South East APC kicks
By Temidayo Akinsuyi (Lagos) and Okey Maduforo (Enugu)
Enugu State Deputy Governor, Sunday Onyebuchi, was finally impeached on Tuesday by the state House of Assembly following endorsement of the reports of a seven-man panel that investigated allegations of gross misconduct against him.
The impeachment followed a motion by the Majority Leader, S.K.E. Udeh-Okoye, for the adoption of the report of the tribunal.
The panel had come up with the conclusion that the “allegations of gross misconduct levelled against Onyebuchi by the House have been proved”.
But the Deputy Governor told reporters shortly afterwards that he had already consulted his team of lawyers to challenge impeachment in court.
“It is not surprising that they took the decision. It would have been more surprising if the opposite had been done.
“From the time the panel sat and shut out the media and the public, it became obvious that they had hidden agenda,” Onyebuchi said.
Moving the motion for acceptance and adoption of the panel’s report at plenary on Tuesday, the House Leader reiterated that the tribunal had concluded that the “allegations of gross misconduct levelled against Onyebuchi by the House have been proved”.
He said his motion for the adoption of the report was predicated on the provision of Section 188 (9) of the 1999 Constitution as amended which stipulates that once the report was adopted with the support of two-thirds majority of members, the holder of the office stands removed.
“Where the report of the panel is that the allegation against the holder of the office has been proved, then within 14 days of the receipt of the report, the House of Assembly shall consider the report, and if by a resolution of the House of Assembly supported by not less than two-thirds majority of all its members, the report of the panel is adopted, then the holder of the office shall stand removed from office as from the date of the adoption of the report”.
Ude-Okoye, whose motion was supported by 21 other members, prayed the House to adopt the report since the panel after carefully reviewing the evidence presented before it found Onyebuchi guilty.
The motion was seconded by Deputy Leader of the House, Kelvin Ukuta.
When the motion was put to vote by the Speaker, Eugene Odoh, all the members voted for it.
Providing further clarification after the sitting, Chairman of the Committee on Information, Ukuta, said with the adoption of the report, Onyebuchi had been formally removed from office.
“The Constitution is clear on this. We adopted the report which found him guilty and almost all House members voted in support.
“We surpassed the two-thirds majority as provided by the constitution,” he added.
Ukuta stressed that the impeached Deputy Governor was free to seek redress from the court of law if he felt his rights were infringed upon.
At his press conference, Onyebuchi went philosophical, saying, “There’s no leave that falls from a tree that God doesn’t know about”.
“As I told the media earlier, I’ve taken my case to God and He alone knows who is just. I want to thank the people of Enugu State and indeed Nigerians for their support, prayers and encouragement while the issue lasted.
“This goes to show that Nigerians still have confidence in their leaders who are bold and fearless,” he said.
“My lawyers will be finalising the suit, they will be filing in court in a matter of days, because like I said immediately at the commencement of the sitting, I met my lawyers and we were of the opinion that the panel is biased; because you saw a situation where they saw a video that I was there in Onitsha, by the time you read the report, you will be laughing, they said that the video showed that I was there but that where I sat was unbeffiting as a representative of the Governor.
“In fact that it was embarrassing to the government, therefore they were of the conclusion that even though I was there, that I was not there as the representative of the Governor or a Deputy Governor, that I was there in my capacity as Sunday Onyebuchi, that’s the conclusion of the panel.”
South East All Progressives Congress (APC) in its reaction condemned impeachment of Onyebuchi “because it was politically motivated and based on flimsy allegations”.
According to spokesman of the party Osita Okechukwu, Onyebuchi’s impeachment has once more confirmed that “the Enugu State House of Assembly is a Rubber-Stamp Assembly; for it’s only an Executive pliant and stooge Legislature, which will ignobly negate the intendment of Section 188 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“The Constitution rates gross misconduct as grave violations of the Constitution, not impeachment as tool for political vendetta.
“Let nobody fool us. Otherwise, when has chicken farming in the Government House become gross misconduct envisaged by the Constitution?
“When has the resolution of the House become law? Or is the House not aware that the chicken farm was raided on January 27, 2014, by the unfolding dictatorship in Enugu?
“We have to caution His Excellency, Chief Sullivan Chime, to desist from the narrow road to dictatorship, as it is an ill wind that blows none good,” APC added.
Unfortunately, we have observed recently sign- post of dictatorship, corruption and propaganda in the state affairs in Enugu State.
For if we keep quite today because it is an intra-party dispute, Chief Chime may become a great risk to our fledgling democracy, especially on the eve of a crucial 2015 general election. Enough is Enough.
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