Court Sacks Umahi, Deputy, 17 Lawmakers Over Defection To APC - THE DAILY CRUCIBLE



Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Court Sacks Umahi, Deputy, 17 Lawmakers Over Defection To APC

                          •Dave Umahi

The Daily Crucible | Tuesday, March 8, 2022

A Federal High Court in Abuja, on Tuesday, sacked Governor of Ebonyi State, David Umahi, and his Deputy, Dr Eric Kelechi Igwe, for leaving People's Democratic Party (PDP) for l All Progressive Congress(APC).

David Umahi and his deputy had in November 2020 left the PDP and joined the APC.

Umahi cited “injustice” done to the south-east geopolitical zone as reason for the defection.

The judgement, delivered by Justice Inyang Ekwo, held that the total number of 393,042 votes Umahi polled at the March 9, 2019 Ebonyi State governorship election belonged to the PDP, hence could not be legally transferred to the APC.

The court reckoned that both Umahi and Igwe’s defection to the APC threw out the PDP and the votes that belonged to the party. 

Similarly, the court also sacked 17 members of the Ebonyi state house of assembly who defected from the PDP to the APC.

The lawmakers had on November 17, 2020, joined Umahi and Eric Igwe, deputy governor, to move over to the APC.

The court, in its judgment delivered earlier today held that the legislators could not transfer the mandate they received from the ballot to another political party after abandoning the political party that had sponsored them.

Justice Inyang Ekwo held that the defendants who were elected into the house of assembly on the platform of the PDP could not justify their defection when there was no division in the PDP.

It held that section 109(1) (g) of the 1999 constitution was purposely created to ensure that defectors were not allowed to retain their seats in the house, unless such defectors are able to justify their action.

The court held that the case PDP brought against them succeeded.

Consequently, Ekwo ordered the lawmakers to vacate their positions with immediate effect.

He restrained them from further parading themselves or acting as members of Ebonyi state assembly.

The court also made an order of mandatory injunction compelling the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to accept from the PDP, a list of its candidates to replace the sacked lawmakers, as well as to issue certificates of return to them.

In the alternative, the court directed INEC to conduct a fresh election in Ebonyi state to fill up the vacant seats within 90 days.

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