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Court sacks Ebonyi governor Umahi, deputy over defection to APC



The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, on Tuesday, has sacked Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State and his Deputy, Dr. Eric Kelechi Igwe, following their defection from the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC.

The court in its ruling said the votes secured by Umahi in March 9, 2019, gubernatorial election belonged to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and cannot be transferred to the APC.

The court, in a judgement that was delivered by Justice Inyang Ekwo, held that the total number of 393, 042 votes governor Umahi secured during the March 9, 2019 governorship election in Ebonyi state, belonged to the PDP and same could not be legally transferred to the APC.

According to the court, having defected to the APC, both Umahi and his deputy, not only jettisoned the PDP, but also the votes that belonged to it.

It held that going by the outcome of the governorship election, the office of the governor and deputy governor in Ebonyi state, “belong to the Plaintiff and no other politcal party”.

“There is no constitutional provision that made the ballot transferrable from one party to the other”.

It held that the PDP is bound to retain the votes and mandate that was given to it by electorates in Ebonyi state, as both governor Umahi and his Deputy could not validly transfer same to APC.

ALSO READ: Court dismisses Ogbuoji’s suit to unseat Umahi over defection to APC

The court, therefore, ordered both Umahi and Igwe to immediately vacate their positions.

It ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to immediately receive from the PDP, names of persons to replace Umahi and his Deputy, or in the alternative, conduct fresh gubernatorial election in Ebonyi state in line with section 177(c) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended.

The court further restraining both Umahi and Igwe from further parading themselves as governor or deputy governor of Ebonyi state.

The judgement followed a suit filed by the PDP before the court.

Meanwhile, NewsWireNGR had earlier reported that a High Court in Abakaliki dismissed a suit challenging the defection of Umahi and his Deputy to the APC.

The suit filed by Mr Sunny Ogbuoji sought an order to reinstate him as governor, instead of Umahi, who just defected to the party.

Delivering his judgment, Justice Henry Njoku, dismissed the suit filed by Ogbuoji for lacking in merit and awarded N500, 000 as damages against him.

Ogbuoji, by originating summons, prayed the Court to hold that Umahi having defected to the APC from the PDP through which he was elected ought to vacate the office of the Governor upon defection.

The judge held that Governor Umahi has not offended any provisions of the Constitution or the Electoral Act in his defection to APC.

“The suit is dismissed for lacking of merit and award cost of 500, 000 is made against the plaintiff,” he said.

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