By Angela Nkwo-Akpoyibo, Owerri
The Deputy Governor of Imo State, Prince Eze Madumere is no doubt swimming in troubled waters now as he battles to survive the battle waged against him by his former boss, and best friend, Governor Rochas Okorocha for daring to question the narrative.
Madumere, son of the traditional ruler of Achi Mbieri, Eze Henry Madumere.
In 2011, after the emergence of Okorocha as the Governor of Imo State, he was appointed as the Chief of Staff, a post he held to support youths into positions of authority.
Grapevine sources said one of his hangers on, Uche Nwosu was in the habit of visiting him, to get opportunities to run errands for him, which could also fetch the young man some money at the end.
However, after observing Nwosu for some time, Madumere decided to introduce the then job seeker to Okorocha, an action that seems to haunt the former number two man.
Having been confirmed as trustworthy, Okorocha accepted Nwosu who has today become his revered son in-law, amassing so much power.
In 2011, Madumere faced the ambit of the law after the then Governor, Ikedi Ohakim declared an onslaught against him, for acts which were considered an affront to the government.
Truth be told, until the rift between Okorocha and Madumere, many saw the latter as too submissive even to the point of ridicule.
In times past, Madumere was considered the brain box behind Governor Okorocha, as sources said he is the one who thought out the laudable projects initiated but during implementation, the Governor was fond of edging him out, thus the projects were shabbily executed because it’s visioner was always shoved outside.
The signals began when Madumere was always detailed to attend burial ceremonies, even outside the State while Uche Nwosu was positioned to receive the A-list guests. When Journalists queried the move, the number two’s spokesman, Uche Onwuchekwa had debunked the insinuation, maintaining that his boss was following instructions.
As Chief of Staff, Madumere discharged his functions properly and did not arrogate awesome powers to himself as against the practice until some weeks ago, when the real Governor people knew was Nwosu.
In 2013, due to political differences, Okorocha eased out his first Deputy Governor despite the many accolades he showered on Chief Jude Agbaso which left many confused.
However, against the permutations, Madumere was chosen to replace Agbaso not many queried it as it was considered reward for commitment and loyalty to the Rescue Mission project.
But just one year into Okorocha’s second term in office, the handwriting became clearer, Madumere had been termed luggage and the less he knew, the better according to the strategists, who renewed their plot by ensuring he was kept outside critical meetings where he was not privy to critical and sensitive information.
A source in the Government House argued that Madumere was so sidelined that he only knew about developments via news reports like the average Imo indigene.
In times past, Journalists had sought to know Okorocha’s thinking in terms of a successor and he said his successor will be humane, accessible, and humble. Just when they thought Madumere was the anointed, Okorocha added that the person must be less than 50 years, that was the killer punch that showed the Governor’s thinking.
By that permutation, one thing became obvious, Madumere was not the anointed, Uche Nwosu was. Okorocha even went as far as saying “show me who amongst my cabinet members is as endearing and humble as Uche Nwosu”. No matter the name suggested, the Governor waved it aside and insisted on his son in-law.
Upon defection to the All Progressive Congress (APC), Governor Okorocha started adorning the party’s muffler as part of dressing, Madumere followed suit. He could never be caught in public without the muffler but puzzling is the fact that not once has Uche Nwosu adorned it and the Governor never made a fuss about it.
Call Madumere Okorocha’s ” Man Friday” and you won’t be totally wrong. When appeals and negotiations were to be made, the former number two was always sent to make peace but during the signing ceremony, he will be sent outside the State. Perhaps to erase the efforts he played to maintain peace.
A source said when appeals were to be made, Okorocha would always send his loyal Madumere to get the peace pact from the warring party while appearing as though.
But one may ask, “so what changed, why did Madumere change”? Pundits argue that after enduring a menace for over six years, why turn around when everybody thinks you have accepted it as a norm?
Perhaps, Okorocha has failed to understand that every man, no matter how highly or lowly placed has ego and will do everything to protect it.
A politician who gave his name as Chief Amamdi Igwe said “do you because you are a peace lover continue to eat faeces, and yet still be insulted when the person you received the insults for gives no hoot about you? No you don’t expect Madumere to continue taking insults and not be appreciated”.
Recently, Okorocha at a media parley in the Government House said his biggest regret was losing Madumere, saying if a Prophet told him it was a prophesy, he could never believe it. He said ” the one that pained me most was that of Deputy Governor, Eze Madumere. If anybody told me he will one day turn around against me, I would never believe it. Do you know how far we have come? Indeed, I have lost a good hand”, he had said.
Further, Okorocha’s spokesman, Sam Onwuemodo had in a press statement alleged that Madumere was an ex convict but it has since been proven that its not true.
Just some days ago during the swearing in of new political appointees and career Permanent Secretaries, Okorocha had lampooned his erstwhile Deputy, on how he raised N22.5million fees to acquire APC’s nomination forms.
The Governor had said until he appointed Madumere, and some other appointees who have walked out on him, none of them had the capacity to raise N22.5milion to purchase governorship nomination forms of the All Progressive Congress (APC), insisting that they had no money before then.
Okorocha said except they apologized to him, Madumere and the others may incur what he tagged “political accidents”, saying they must apologize to him.
The Governor said “tell Madumere, Ejiogu, Ololo and Eche to come back and apologize to me before they crash. Tell them to come back so that I may bless them. They had no dime before they came into this government. How did they get the N22.5m to buy APC governorship forms”, he queried.
However, that question though said laced with scorn has shown that Okorocha may have kept Madumere from amassing wealth.
One thing is obvious, Madumere may have served without embezzling State funds as the Governor has said.
Today, even Okorocha’s aides boast of hotels and other properties while Madumere has only his Lake Melinda country home to show, because he may have been stopped from amassing wealth at the expense of the State.
Perhaps, these may have been the reason why Madumere teemed up with Okorocha’s political enemies to refuse the endorsement of Uche Nwosu which pundits have said is an affront on the peoples psyche.
The Allied Forces as they are called, is a group of APC members who are against the candidature of Nwosu who they say is not qualified to manage the affairs of Imo State, saying except for Okorocha, the Nkwerre born Imo son, has not held any office adding that he lacks the prerequisite experience.
Obviously, Madumere’s offense according to Governor Okorocha is standing up to be his own man, which in the real sense is not an offense.
One begins to wonder why deny a man his dream, why not allow him test his popularity, especially when the entire State has risen up in unison to denounce a veiled third term agenda.
For Madumere, these are trying days and a great test of his popularity, and time will tell, if he will survive what appears to be his greatest political battle yet, whether he will survive Okorocha or be consumed by his ambition.