BREAKING: Court sacks Umahi, Kelechi as Ebonyi governor, deputy | NN NEWS
A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has ordered Governor David Umahi and his Deputy, Dr Eric Kelechi Igwe, to immediately vacate office as Governor and Deputy Governor of Ebonyi State on account of their defections from the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Justice Inyang Ekwo in his judgment held that by defecting from the party on which they were sponsored and elected as governor and deputy governor of Ebonyi State to the APC, a political party that did not win the election, they had resigned or are deemed to have resigned from office.
The court made the order in a judgement on a suit filed by the PDP seeking the removal of Governor Umahi and Deputy Governor Igwe from office.
The court noted that the crux of the matter was the defection of the 3rd and 4th from the PDP to the APC.
The court said the averments of the 3rd and 4th Defendants did not address the issue of defection rightly and frontally but rather resorted to general denial to affidavit evidence.
Justice Ekwo said the depositions of the 3rd and 4th Defendants in their counter affidavit were ‘evasive and insufficient’ to competently challenge the Plaintiff’s originating process.
It was the opinion of the court that the ‘Immunity Clause’ in section 308 of the Constitution is not absolute.
‘Section 308 is a veritable constitutional shield’ and not for political reasons.
The court said Umahi and Igwe did not controvert the deposition that total votes scored in an election belong to a political party.
Justice Ekwo said evidence abounds that the 2nd defendant (APC) contested the Ebonyi State Governorship election held on March 2019, with its own candidates.
‘It can be noted that the Constitution does not deal with the issue of defection lightly” the court stated.
‘The 3rd and 4th Defendants cannot transfer the votes and victory of the Plaintiff on March 9, 2019, to the APC.
‘Office of the Governor and Deputy Governor of Ebonyi state belongs to the PDP.
‘The option for Umahi and Igwe is to vacate office and wait for next election to contest election under the platform of its new party, the court declared.
The court said the act of the APC, Umahi and his deputy is aimed at dismantling the 1999 Constitution.
Consequently, the court declared that under the democratic system operated in Nigeria, the plaintiff won the majority of votes during the election and is entitled to enjoy the same till the end of the tenure of office for which the election was made.
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