Fresh facts have continued to emerge why the governor of Imo State Owelle Rochas Okorocha is not disposed to handing over power to his Deputy, Prince Eze Madumere in 2019.
Madumere has been enjoying rosy relationship with Okorocha who can be said to be his political godfather, mentor and great benefactor of over 20 years until recently when the issue of who succeeds the governor heightened the stage in Imo State.
Two successive events in the State during the week show that all is not well between the two soulmates signalling that Okorocha may not anoint Madumere as successor.
Apart from the reported plot to remove the Deputy Governor through impeachment, which the State government has laboured to rubbish and declare a ruse, Monday’s clash between the supporters of Madumere, and Okorocha’s Chief of Staff at Nwaoriebu, the headquarters of Mbaitoli LGA, signaled that the end is near in the relationship between Okorocha and Madumere.
Trumpeta gathered that it didn’t come as a surprise development to members of the governor’s political camp in APC that Madumere is not within the searchlight of his principal despite years of political cohabitation. From Okorocha’s days as Red Cross boss and before he became governor, Madumere from Mbieri in Mbaitoli had performed as the Chief of Staff and even merited the position in 2011 when the governor came on board before he was elevated to Deputy Governor at the sack of Jude Agbaso and re-election in 2015.
Events have also shown that it was a calculated attempt not to carefully put Madumere on the map of possible successors. This newspaper was reliably informed that the first tactics used to knock him out of relevance was to starve the Deputy Governor’s office the required funds to operate. This tactics reliable sources revealed, was to downsize the financial strength of Madumere thereby crippling his reach-out.
This system was applied after a similar approach was used to cow the growing influence of Chief Jude Ejiogu, the immediate past Secretary to the State government. Because the SGI office offered Ejiogu political muscle and vintage platform to seek the desire to become governor in 2019, Okorocha pulled a fast one at the early stages by removing him unannounced.
Since there are constitutional requirements that must lead to the exit of a Deputy Governor, Trumpeta was told that the governor had to relax on the impeachment of Madumere until now the tensed situation for 2019 has heightened. This newspaper learnt that before the exit of Agbaso, the imprests to run the office of the Deputy Governor ranges from N25 to N30 Million monthly before it was drastically reduced when Madumere came to N5m monthly, and it was not even regular. The action seriously affected the output of the Deputy Governor as the support staff in the office were sacked because of paucity of finance to pay them monthly.
The lack of adequate finance was also said to have encumbered the altruistic gestures of the Deputy Governor as against the philanthropic displays of the Chief of Staff Uche Nwosu, who had humongous funds at his wish and disposal.
It was also gathered that what led to starving of the Deputy Governor’s office of funds was the issue of the spacious Lake Malinda, the country home of Madumere at Achi Mbieri. Stories have it that after visiting the place, the governor may have expressed reservation about the size of land which aroused envy. A visit to the place showed that the expanse land has only a chapel and a building where he resides.
Further revelations have it that apart from not having the opportunity to be assigned a Ministry to supervise unlike in the past and the practice in some states, Madumere has not acted effectively as acting Governor anytime the Okorocha is on vacation or goes to leave.
It has been a history in the State from the times of Udenwa and Ohakim to allocate Ministries to deputies to supervise until the regime of Okorocha where it appears to have stopped with only MDGs and miniature offices assigned to the Deputy Governor.
Another aspect that suggest that Madumere was not Okorocha’s desire was when he started with the issue of age limit of 50years, which many said was a concept to tactically knock out the Deputy Governor from Okorocha choice list of successors. Madumere is above fifty years old unlike the Chief of Staff who is under 50; the age bracket Okorocha advocates for his successor.
The last but not the least in the said premeditated plot to keep off Madumere was the style of always asking him to attend and represent the governor in some functions while the Chief of Staff is prominent in crucial government functions and State activities in Imo.
Sources further disclosed that the recent solidarity march embarked in support of the Deputy Governor almost earned him a reprimand from high quarters who allege that it has capacity to heat up the polity. The counter reaction, according the source is the reported attempt to impeach the Deputy Governor and finally push him out from the governorship contest in 2019 election.
Trumpeta learnt that it is not yet uhuru for Madumere, as there are still plots in the offing to knock him out of the Governorship race.