The Deputy Governor of Imo State, Eze Madumere, has been sacked from office.
He was sacked by 19 of the 27 members of the Imo House of Assembly.
The Assembly had earlier received a report by a seven-member panel set up by the state chief judge which allegedly indicted Mr Madumere of gross misconduct.
The sack occurred at about the same time a court in the state barred the lawmakers from removing Mr Madumere from office.
A High Court Judge in Owerri, Benjamin Iheka, gave an interim order restraining the seven-member panel constituted by the chief judge of the state from submitting its report, thus halting the removal proceedings.
Mr Madumere’s counsel, Ken Njemanze, on Monday filed an originating summon over what he described as a constitutional breach in the work of the panel.
Mr Njemanze explained he had filed an affidavit of urgency and wants justice to be served.
“We are very prepared to go on with the matter and parties have been served with the processes. And due to the nature of the subject matter of this suit, which concerns the office and person of the Deputy Governor.
”And considering that we have filed an affidavit of urgency, I humbly apply that the interest of justice in this matter will be served if the court makes an interim order, directing parties, particularly those served, to maintain status quo,” Mr Njemanze said.
“The court is likely going on vacation from the 31st of July, 2018 and the second to eight respondents, who were appointed by the chief judge, Paschal Nnadi, to investigate the deputy governor, have been inaugurated and sworn-in, to begin their assignment.
”If an order for the maintenance of the status quo is not made, the panellists will continue and conclude. The substratum will therefore be lost before the Court resumes,” Njemanze argued.
The lead counsel to the first respondents who is also the Attorney General of the Imo State, Miletus Nlemadim, opposed the motion brought by Mr Njemanze.
“We are opposing the application for an interim order. Our contention is that the grant of an interim order, will not serve the interest of justice.”
”This is an indirect way of getting the order. We expect an accelerated hearing. The panel’s job is provided for by the constitution. It will be unconstitutional to make an interim order,” Mr Nlemadim said.
After addressing the counsel representing the plaintiff and defendants, the judge, Benjamin Iheka, ruled that for justice to prevail, the matter should first be determined by the court.
The judge granted an interim order restraining the panel and every other party involved in the matter, including the House of Assembly, from taking further action pending the determination of the suit.
The judge, therefore, adjourned the matter to August 13.
Mr Madumere has been having a running political battle with Governor Rochas Okorocha over the latter’s successor in 2019.
While Mr Madumere seeks to succeed Mr Okorocha, the governor reportedly supports his son-in-law.
The crisis worsened during the APC local and state congresses in the state with Mr Okorocha and his deputy supporting separate factions.
Although the APC faction supported by Mr Madumere and a senator, Osita Izunaso, was initially recognised by the national leadership of the party, its election was upturned by the court.
The APC’s plan to hold fresh congresses in Imo was also suspended by a federal court in Abuja on Monday.