The Federal High Court Abuja has temporarily stopped the impeachment proceedings set in motion against embattled deputy governor, Eze Madumere by the Imo State House of Assembly, seen by many as doing the bidding of governor Rochas Okorocha, who has been in a running battle with his deputy over his plan to install his son-in law, Uche Nwosu as his successor.
Court papers made available to the press on Friday by his counsel, Johnmary Jideobi, showed that the trial judge gave an order that had the effect of stopping the impeachment process pending determination of the suit filed by Mr Madumere.
Justice O .A Musa also granted the applicant leave to serve the processes in the suit on the defendants.
He said, “Parties are to maintain the status quo pending the hearing of the motion on notice,” the court directed.
“Any party affected by this order may apply to set it aside for good cause,” the judge directed.
“Parties are to file a written argument addressing this court on its jurisdiction to entertain the instant suit.
“Motion on notice is adjourned to November 27.”
Majority of Nigerians are of the view that the plot to remove Madumere as deputy governor was due to his opposition by to the plan by Governor Okorocha to have his in-law succeed him in office.
Mr. Madumere is also interested in becoming the next governor of Imo State.
He had joined forces with opponents of the governor in their All Progressives Congress in the state.
They held parallel congresses to take control of the APC in the state and had produced party leaders that were recognised by the former national leadership of the party. But a court has since nullified the congresses.
Okorocha’s supporters have a majority in the state Assembly.
The House last month suspended four lawmakers seen as loyal to the deputy governor and standing against the plot to remove him from office.
Also another lawmaker, representing Oru West LGA, Donatus Onuigwe, who opposed the impeachment proceedings on Tuesday was also suspended by the House.
The House had on Tuesday set up a six-member committee headed by Kennedy Ibe, member representing Obowo Local Government Area, to investigated what it called allegations of misconduct against Mr Madumere and report back to it within seven days.
But shockingly, the committee submitted its report 48 hours later on Thursday, concluding hastily that Madumere has a case to answer.
The House therefore served a notice of impeachment on the deputy governor on Thursday, asking him to defend himself against the allegations against him.
The deputy governor therefore sought the protection of the court against the lawmakers and the state chief judge.