Rt. Hon Eugene Odoh, the former Speaker of Enugu State House of Assembly, has distanced himself from the infamous “chicken impeachment” of the Deputy Governor, Sunday Onyebuchi, saying he opposed the action.
Odoh, who recently dumped the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) made this denial in a live radio programme, ‘Freedom Square’ aired by Solid Fm, a private radio station in Enugu.
Onyebuchi was impeached at the tail end of his tenure on August 26, 2014 by the immediate past House of Assembly presided over by Odo, following the recommendation of a seven-man panel set up by the then Chief Judge, innocent Umezulike to investigate the allegations of misconduct leveled against the Deputy Governor.
The allegations of misconduct were made against Onyebuchi for operating a poultry farm in his official residence and refusal to represent his boss, Governor Sullivan Chime at official functions.
Responding to questions in the radio programme, Odo recalled that Governor Chime first invited him to Enugu Government House and intimated him of his plans to remove his deputy.
Odoh said the Governor told him to go and solicit the support of other house members to ensure that the plot to remove Onyebuchi sailed through.
“However, I made it clear to the Governor that I am opposed to the plan. I advised the Governor that we should find an amicable solution to the matter. The Governor told me to go and come back the next day. When I came back to see the Governor, all the other 23 House members were there and they all signed the impeachment. I am the presiding officer and I don’t have any vote. So, even though I was opposed to the impeachment, I had no option than to announce the decision of the House” Odoh said.
Odo also dismissed his purported impeachment at the tail end of his tenure, saying there is nowhere in the world where seven members can impeach a speaker in a House of 24 members.
He admitted that the House under him as Speaker for eight years had a cordial relationship with Governor Chime until the tail end when it challenged some of his actions like the attempt to obtain N11 billion loan, parceling out of land at the abandoned International Conference Centre to private developers and leasing out land adjacent to the House of Assembly complex for building of shopping mall.
Odo gave kudos to incumbent administration of Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi for revoking the land allocations inside the Conference Centre but regretted that the construction of shopping was still ongoing at the land, adjacent the House of Assembly complex.
He said there was nowhere in the world a shopping mall was sited within the three arms zone.
Odo denied that he attempted to impeach Chime at the tail end of his tenure because he did not give him the PDP governorship ticket, pointing out that a governor elect was already in place at the time of the impeachment controversy.
Explaining the reasons why he left PDP for the APC, Odo said he could no longer cope with the impunity in PDP, more so, when APC provided the fastest route for Igbo presidency.
According to him, if the North completes this tenure in 2019 and another tenure in 2023, then it will come to the South and Igbos are better position to take it as the South-West and South-South have taken their turns.