A High Court in Owerri, the Imo State Capital, has stopped the swearing-in of Mr Calistus Ekenze as the new Deputy Governor of the state.
The court issued an interim order stopping the swearing-in ceremony after it was approached by Mr Eze Madumere who is challenging his impeachment as deputy governor of the state.
News of the ruling came in on Tuesday morning just as Mr Ekenze was about to be sworn in.
Top government officials had started gathering at the Sam Mbakwe Exco Chambers inside the Government House in Owerri where the swearing-in was supposed to take place as early as 10 am.
But just after waiting for over two hours for the commencement of the ceremony, the Imo State Attorney-General and Commissioner for justice, Miletus Nlemadim, announced that the state government had complied with a fresh order from the court preventing the Chief Judge of the state, Pascal Nnadi, from swearing-in Mr Ekenze.
Imo State Attorney-General, Miletus-Nlemadim, informed those gathered for the swearing-in ceremony about the court ruling.
According to the Attorney-General, the state government is law-abiding and respects the rule of law and as such obeyed the court order.
He, however, explained that the state government is doing everything possible to vacate the order to enable the state government to swear in the deputy governor designate on a future date.
Meanwhile, the state Governor, Rochas Okorocha, has urged all parties to be calm and obey the court order to prevent any breakdown of law and order in the state
Imo State Governor Rochas Okorcha had nominated Mr Ekenze as deputy governor after the impeachment of Mr Eze Madumere.The Imo State House of Assembly impeached Mr Madumere on Monday when 19 out of 27 members backed his removal.
According to the Speaker of the Assembly, Mr Acho Ihim, Mr Madumere’s impeachment followed the report of a seven-man panel, constituted by the Chief Judge of the state to investigate allegations of gross misconduct.
Immediately after, the Speaker read a letter from Governor Okorocha nominating Ekenze, the Head of Service in the state, as the new deputy governor.