Court Halts Imo Deputy Governor Designate Swearing-in Ceremony

A High Court in Owerri, Imo State, has halted the swearing-in of Calistus Ekenze as the new Deputy Governor of the state.
The swearing-in ceremony was said to be ongoing when the ruling came to stop it.
Despite court order on Monday to stave off impeachment against Eze Madumere, the State House of Assembly went ahead to remove him as the Deputy Governor.
But on Tuesday just as Ekenze was about to be sworn in at a ceremony which was holding at the Sam Mbakwe expanded Exco Chambers of the Government House in Owerri, the news was relayed that it has stopped by the court.
After waiting for four hours for the swearing-in, guests, government functionaries, including Governor Rochas Okorocha, were visibly disappointed as the court ordered the state Chief Judge not to proceed with the swearing-in ceremony.
While guests, especially the Deputy Governor-designate and his family members were waiting for the Chief Judge to commence the administering of the oath of office, the Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General of the state, Militus Nlemadium, broke the bad news to the audience in the Sam Mbakwe hall.
Nlemadium told the audience that there was a court order made by Owerri High Court on Tuesday morning stopping the Chief Judge from swearing-in the Deputy Governor-designate.
The Chief Judge was said to have told the Governor Okorocha that it would be wrong for him to be seen to be disobeying a court order, considering his position as the chief judge of the state if he proceeded with the swearing-in ceremony.
The Attorney General theteafter told the guests not to despair, assuring them that the government had filed all legal process to set aside the court order.
He expressed optimism that the order would be vacated on Tuesday and that the Deputy Governor would be sworn in same day.
It was gathered that the interim order stopping the swearing-in ceremony was sequel to a suit instituted by the impeached Deputy Governor on Tuesday morning, challenging his impeachment by the state legislature.
Madumere was impeached by 19 out of the 27 member-Assembly as he was accused of absence without reasons for a period of three months and a failure to perform constitutional duties like attending state executive and security council meetings.
He was also accused of failing to attend meetings with the governor and other government functionaries as well as an alleged concealment of felonious acts in the United States.
The Speaker of the House, Acho Ihim, said the impeachment followed the outcome of a report of a 7-man panel, constituted by the Chief Judge of the state to investigate allegations of gross misconduct.
Ekenze was then nominated by the Governor Okorocha, as the Speaker read out the nomination letter on the floor of the House immediately after the impeachment

Author: News Editor

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