Chime boasts: I can’t be impeached


ENUGU—Enugu State governor, Sullivan Chime boasted, Monday, night that the state House of Assembly cannot impeach him.

Chime, who addressed newsmen at Government House, Enugu, said the Eugene Odo- led faction of the State House of Assembly and 13 others who, he described as clowns, allegedly demanded money from him, adding that the fight was all about money.

Chime was reacting to the directive by the 14 of the 24 members to the Clerk of the House,  Christopher Chukwurah, to serve an impeachment notice on him (Chime) earlier on Monday.

However, in a swift reaction, Speaker Odo said Chime lied, wondering why a person occupying an exalted office of governor would tell bare-faced lies.

Governor Chime had stressed that the assembly men were fighting a lost battle as he would not be impeached since there were processes that would lead to the impeachment of a governor which the faction would never achieve in their bid to remove him.

Asking newsmen not to water down his harsh words for House members, he said:  ‘’The office of governor is not like that of the Speaker that you can blow siren to the office and go home on Okada (commercial motorcycle).
‘’They (assemblymen) are not aware of the constitutional provisions relating to impeachment. Let me use this word stupid. I have been hearing all sorts of things as reasons for their recent attacks on my lieutenants, heads of departments and commissioners since last month or so.

“They called them and were questioning them on all sorts of things that happened even in my first tenure. Their dream impeachment will never see the light of day.

‘’I want my defence to see the light of day. The Office of Governor is a very serious office. You do not just wake up one morning and you start thinking of impeachment. The section of the constitution that deals with impeachment is 188. It deals with how the governor or deputy will be removed from office.

“At least one-third of the House is required to sign a notice of allegations of gross misconduct against the holder of the office. So, the House has 24 members. Eight of them are expected to sign that notice.

“Under subsection two, the Speaker is expected to have received the notice of allegation, cause a copy of that notice to be served on me within seven days.

“After they have gone through that hurdle; within 14 days of presentation of the notice to the Speaker, the House is enjoined to pass a resolution, stating that the allegation should be investigated. I am referring to sub-section three.

“The Speaker must get the House, to resolve through a motion, the resolution which must be supported by two-thirds of its members. That is sub-section four. And it must be by all members of the House. So all this talk about suspension of House members is nonsense. So long as you are a member, you must be part of this.

“So, two-thirds of all the members, in our case, is 16. I am (not) quite sure they know what they are doing. I do not know the stage they are in now. Is it the stage of presenting the allegation or what? The constitution requires two-third to pass the resolution.

“Nobody has served me the notice of allegation. By their own showing, they are 14 members including the Speaker who should not be counted. So they are 13. That is why they have not activated anything.

“They need 14 days to get the notice of allegation from its members. When that happens, they will require another seven days to pass the resolution. If they are successful, the Chief Judge will be enjoined by the Speaker to constitute a seven-man panel and submit its report within three months. So, I am not quite sure if they are investigating me or the incoming governor. Because before they even set up the panel, I am out of this place.

“That is the stupidity and folly of what they have set out to do. They are all looking for money which I do not have. Fourteen of them cannot activate this process. No Chief Judge will listen to them. The allegation of forgery in the 2012 budget of N12 billion is false. The supplementary budget of 2012 was revised. Money was re-allocated for certain projects and no extra money was incurred. I am not quite sure they know the meaning of forgery. The allegation of forgery came to me as a rude shock.

“The N11billion loan they are talking about was approved by the House in November last year. The resolution approving the loan was dated November 13, 2014. The resolution authorized me to borrow the money from United Bank of Africa, UBA, to re-finance part of the loan from Guarantee Trust Bank, GTB.

“I excitedly endorsed the resolution and passed it to the Commissioner for Finance. It is the same bunch of clowns that are now going round telling the world that few weeks to my exit, I am going around borrowing money when they had approved it. We had immediately drawn down the money. What went wrong was that UBA later said that they needed an Irrevocable Standing Payment Order, ISPO.

“We issued it to them and they said, that they needed the House of Assembly to endorse that also. We told the bank that it is the executive that will pay the money that they do not need the House endorsement of the ISPO. And that was resolved.

“Somewhere along the line, the House felt that the administration was coming to an end, that it was time to make money out of it. The House leadership came requesting for money. The leadership of the House came to me shamelessly and asked me to give them money.  That it was the agreement of the House. The Speaker confirmed the House’s  stand. I told them I will not be part of it. Whatever they are doing is all about money.’’

Odoh reacts

However, reacting to Chime’s allegations against his members, calling them criminals and frustrated, the Speaker of the House, Hon. Euguene Odoh said: “Chime is the most frustrated human being on earth. He is using the Commissioner of Police, Dan Bature to intimidate us and withdraw our security personnel.

‘’Why should a man who is occupying an exalted position of governor lie? Chime is lying. Let him tell the people of the state whether I have asked for any contract from him since I became the Speaker of the House of Assembly. Let him tell the world the personal demands we have made from him.

‘’We are not indigents. There are several ways of making money in government. Let him (Chime) tell the world whether he has approved any special travel abroad or any personal favours for me. If we were greedy, we would have approved the loan for him and asked for our share.

‘’He said he paid us half salary in February out of pity. That shows the impunity we are talking about. Is it a personal favour to pay us our salaries. Is it his personal money? What he is saying is that he deliberately denied us our rights.

‘’In a democracy, the Legislature has the responsibility to make laws while Executive implements such laws. Is he saying that because it is the responsibility of the Executive to pay us salaries that he is now doing us a special favour? He should stop lying to the people…”

Ugwuanyi brokers truce
The two factions of the assembly men, one led by Odo and the other led by Chinedu Nwamba met, yesterday, at the residence of the governor-elect,Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi and resolved to sheathe their swords for two weeks.

Hon. Michael Onyeze, representing Igbo-Eze North 1 constituency who spoke on the peace meeting said,”no outsider instigated the crisis. It emanated as a result of misunderstanding between the Executive and Legislature. The governor-elect has provided a platform for peace and reconciliation.

“Ugwuanyi has agreed to wade into the matter, that is why we are giving him a chance. All of us desire peace. Once he calls us within this period we’ll answer. We have agreed that the House will be under lock and key unless there is an emergency.

“Government will not be shut down. We are not carrying out legislative duties within these two weeks.”

At the time of going to the press, the Chief of Staff to Chime, Victor Atuonwu had requested Odoh to surrender government vehicles in his possession as ‘’former Speaker,’’ but the Speaker resisted, saying that eight members of the House cannot pass a resolution over-riding the resulution of 14 members.

It was said that Atuonwu asked Odoh to relinquish possession of his official vehicles after attempts by the Chief Security Officer, CSO, to the governor to retrieve the vehicles failed.

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