Chime’s Impeachment Notice Throws Enugu Into Confusion | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Chime’s Impeachment Notice Throws Enugu Into Confusion

Posted: May 5, 2015 at 7:40 am   /   by   /   comments (0)


•Faction Suspends Speaker, Seven Others

By Emmanuel Nzomiwu



Monday morning’s impeachment notice served on Governor Sullivan Chime by Members of the Enugu State House of Assembly has thrown residents into confusion.

The notice, coming barely four weeks to the expiration of Chime’s second term in office, followed an alleged forgery of N12 billion 2012 supplementary budget

Fourteen of the 24 members of the Assembly were at the early Monday morning seating presided over by the Speaker, Eugene Odo and signed the notice.

The Speaker and his group had earlier converged in the House as early as 4am but the Police prevented them from gaining entry into the premises.

Following complaints to Police authorities by the Speaker, they later managed to enter the House premises around 6.30 am.

Odo immediately after directed the Clerk of the House to serve the impeachment notice on the Governor.

Before adjourning the sitting, the Speaker announced the suspension of three members of the House, the Deputy Speaker, Chime Oji, John Kelvin Ukuta and Daniel Ogbuabor for anti-part activities.

The Sergeant-at-Arms took away the mace immediately after the Speaker and members of his group left.

There was however a mild drama in the House when few minutes after the Speaker adjourned the sitting, the suspended Deputy Speaker, Oji and seven other members of the House, who are believed to be loyal to Governor Chime, entered the legislative chambers for another sitting.

At the sitting of the Chime loyalists, another suspended member, Ukuta, moved a motion for the recall of a suspended member, Johnbull Nwagu and a member, Chinedu Nwamba, seconded the motion.

Following his recall, Nwagu joined the group of Chime loyalists in the House, bringing their number to nine.

The Chime group also approved a motion, suspending the Speaker and six other members of his group and stripped the principal officers among them of their positions and benefits. Those suspended with the Speaker, Anichukwu Nwankwo, Okechukwu

Nwoke, Paul Ogbe, Nze Michael Onyeze, Chika Ene and Udo-Okoye.

Ukuta further moved for the nomination of other colleagues to fill the vacancies created by the suspension and nominated Chinedu Nwamba, representing Nsukka East constituency to be sworn-in as Speaker of the House.

The motion was approved and Chinedu Nwamba was sworn in as House Speaker.

**Daily Independent** had reported last Friday that there was tension in Enugu over strong feelers that Governor Chime has moved against Odo.

Chime had last week ordered an audit of the accounts of the House as a reprisal for the rejection of his recent actions by the House, including the concession of the State’s Water Corporation to a private company; attempt to obtain N11 billion loan; building of a shopping mall near the House of Assembly Complex; and allocation of part of the International Conference Centre (ICC) to private developers.

Similarly, the Governor also forwarded a letter to the House, through the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Anthony Ani (SAN), warning the lawmakers that they have no powers to freeze the account of any government agency.

The letter was prompted by a resolution passed by the Assembly last week, freezing the accounts of the Enugu State Universal Basic Education Board (ENSUBEB) in all commercial banks pending the conclusion of investigation into allegations of financial recklessness against the Chairman, Miss Nneka Onuora.

A principal officer of the House, who pleaded anonymity, confirmed to our correspondent on Monday that the State’s Auditor General has started an audit of the House books.

Our source said the legislators also reliably learnt that Chime doled out N2 million each to six lawmakers, including a suspended lawmaker, who he believes are still loyal to him.

The latest development has heightened tension in the State since last Tuesday, when the lawmakers passed a resolution, asking the Accountant General of the State, Pascal Okolie, to furnish the Assembly with written information before April 26, on the financial position of the State since January, including Internally Generated Revenue.

The lawmakers had earlier grilled Okolie over the non-release of their overhead for March.

The House had a week earlier issued the State Commissioner of Police with a warrant to arrest the AG and bring him to the House, but he voluntarily appeared and apologized for his inability to honour three previous invitations.

Responding to questions from the lawmakers during an executive session, Okolie noted that release of funds has been going on well until the country came under cash squeeze caused by the fall in oil prices.

“Enugu is not spared. Many states have not been able to pay salaries, but we have managed to be paying salaries. We have cash flow problems. We have tried in overhead. We have paid January and February to this House. Half of March was made available. We hope to pay the balance. My appeal is that this House be patient,” he told the legislators.