There was drama at the Imo State Government House, Owerri, on Tuesday as a state High Court sitting in the state capital stopped the swearing -in ceremony of the deputy governor-designate, Callistus Ekenze.
After waiting for four hours for the swearing- in of the deputy governor -designate following the impeachment of the former deputy governor, Eze Madumere, on Monday by the state House of Assembly, guests, government functionaries, including Governor Rochas Okorocha, were visibly disappointed as the court ordered the state Chief Judge not to proceed with the swearing – in ceremony.
While guests, especially the deputy governor- designate and his family members were waiting for the CJ to commence the administering of the oath of office, the Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General of the state, Militus Nlemadium, broke what became a bad news to the audience in the Sam Mbakwe hall.
Nlemadium told the audience that there was a court order made by Owerri High Court on Tuesday morning stopping the CJ from swearing – in the deputy governor- designate.
A government source told our correspondent that the CJ told the governor that he would not swear in the deputy governor- designate as long as there was a court order restraining him from doing so.
According to the source who pleaded not to be mentioned, the CJ told the governor that it would be wrong for him to be seen to be disobeying a court order, considering his position as the chief judge of the state.
The source said that the chief judge mandated the governor to vacate the order if he must swear in Ekenze as the new deputy governor.
The attorney general told the guests not to despair, assuring them that the government had filed all legal process to set aside the court order.
He expressed optimism that the order would be vacated on Tuesday and that the deputy governor would be sworn in same day (today).
Our correspondent gathered that the interim order stopping the swearing – in ceremony was sequel to a suit instituted by the impeached deputy governor on Tuesday morning, challenging his impeachment by the state legislature.