From Paul Ibeh, Enugu
Impeached deputy governor of Enugu state, Sunday Onyebuchi seems not ready to quit without a fight as he takes the state house of assembly to court challenging his impeachment.
The matter which will be heard by an Enugu State high court, filed by a team led by Femi Falana, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria listed the Speaker of the Assembly, Eugene Odoh, the 23 lawmakers and the new deputy governor, Ifeanyi Nwoye as defendants.
In the originating summons, Onyebuchi contends that having regard to the clear provisions of Section 188(2) and Section 188 (11) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federation (as amended) and the momentous decision of the Apex Court of the land in INAKOJU AND ORS VS ADELEKE AND ORS (2007) 4 NWLR ( Pt. 1025) 423, his purported impeachment was illegal, null and void.
Questions for determination in the suit are: “Whether the Enugu State House of Assembly could initiate removal or impeachment proceedings against Mr. Onyebuchi, the Deputy Governor of Enugu State for the purposes of removing him from office when he had not committed a gross misconduct in the performance of the functions of his office, amongst others.
“Whether the Enugu State House of Assembly lawfully exercised its powers when it voted and purportedly removed His Excellency Sunday Onyebuchi, the Deputy Governor of Enugu State acting on the recommendation of a 7 man panel of investigation which purportedly investigated His Excellency on acts which do not constitute Gross Misconduct in the performance of the functions of his office as the Deputy Governor of Enugu State.”
Mr. Onyebuchi, therefore, claimed against the defendants jointly and severally a declaration that the purported Notice of Allegation of misconduct served on him as a preparatory step to his removal by the defendants was unconstitutional, null and void and of no effect whatsoever, having regard to the provisions of Section 188 (1)-(9) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).
He also asked the court to declare that the motion passed by the defendants on July 22, 2014 calling for the investigation of the allegation of misconduct against him “is in contravention of Section 188 (1)-(9) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and to that extent, the said motion is unconstitutional, null, void and of no effect whatsoever.”
He further sought a declaration that members of the state House of Assembly could only lawfully invoke their powers of removal or impeachment against him under Section 188 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federation where he (the plaintiff) has committed acts of Gross misconduct in the performance of the functions of his office.
The reliefs sought by Sunday Onyebuchi include: “A declaration that Section 188 of the Constitution is not a weapon available to the Enugu State House of Assembly to subject or police the plaintiff for any wrong doing not committed in the performance of the functions of his office as Deputy Governor.
Meanwhile, hearing on the motion for substituted service on the defendants filed by the plaintiff’s counsels, is expected to be heard this week before Justice Mrs. Ngozi Emehelu, to whom the case had been assigned.