Following the order of an Owerri High Court that halted the swearing in of the new Deputy Governor of Imo State, Callistus Ekenze, the new Deputy Governor of the State could not be sworn in as scheduled.
Reports reaching this newspaper indicate that top officials of the State Government had gathered for the swearing in of Mr Ekenze at Exco Chambers of Government House, Owerri when the Order came.
The State Governor, Rochas Okorocha immediately called off the swearing in exercise.
According to a statement by Sam Onwuemedo, Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, he said the Governor ordered that the swearing in be suspended following the interim Court Order restraining the Chief Judge of the State of the State from carrying out the exercise.
Part of the statement reads:
“The venue of the Scheduled Swearing-in, the Sam Mbakwe Exco Chamber was full to the brim by guests including Senior government functionaries and APC leaders in the State when the governor’s directive came through the Attorney-General of the State, Barr. M.O. Nlemedim in respect of the Court Order.
“The governor had insisted that the interim Order be obeyed not minding some issues raised by Senior Lawyers in the government against the Order, insisting that his administration must continue to obey valid Court Orders and also served on the government or agents of the government.
“It should be recalled that the nineteen (19) members of the State House of Assembly had on Monday, July 30, 2018 impeached the former Deputy Governor, Prince Eze Madumere following the submission last Friday, of the report of the Panel that investigated the accusations against him.
“It should also be recalled that the Deputy-Governor had earlier got an order against the impeachment process, on July 5, 2018 by a State High Court, but the Order was vacated and described as a “nullity” by the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory in Abuja presided over by Justice O.A Musa on July 16, 2018.
“The governor has urged all Imo people and all the Parties in the matter to remain law-abiding and allow the law to take its course.
Ekenze was named as replacement for Prince Eze Madumere who was hurriedly impeached by the Imo State House of Assembly.
The impeachment came despite an Order of a Federal High Court that halted the impeachment process against the Deputy Governor.
An ardent follower of Prince Eze Madumere, Miss Linda Chikere had posted on twitter that none of the judges agreed to perform the swearing in of Mr. Ekenze.
This could not be verified as at press time. Only the State Chief Judge has the responsibility of swearing in senior government officials especially the State Governor and Deputy Governor.