Defection: Court to deliver judgment in suit seeking Umahi’s removal March 8

A Federal High Court, Abuja, on Wednesday, fixed March 8 for has fixed March 8 for judgment a suit filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) seeking the removal of Ebonyi Governor, Dave Umahi.

The PDP is asking the court to sack Umahi, alongside his deputy, Dr. Kelechi Igwe, from office on account of their defection from the party to the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Justice Inyang Ekwo fixed the date after counsel to the parties adopted their processes and argued their case for and against the suit.

The PDP, in an originating summons marked FHC/ABJ/CS/920/2021, urged the court to declare that by defecting from the party on which they were sponsored and elected as governor and deputy governor of Ebonyi, to the APC, a political party that did not win the election, they have resigned or deemed to have resigned from office.

The plaintiff stated that the defendants purportedly defected and relinquished their membership of the PDP on which platform they contested and won the governorship election.

It said “by so doing, the defendants are deemed to have lost the majority votes scored at the election and consequently should be ordered by the court to vacate their respective offices as Governor and deputy governor of Ebonyi state.”

Other defendants in the suit are the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the APC.

However,  Chief Chukwuma-Machukwu Ume, SAN and former Attorney-General of Imo, who is counsel to Umahi and his deputy, had urged the court to declined jurisdiction and transfer the case to the state.

He particularly drew the attention of the court to the fact that Nigeria is a federation with 36 states, including Ebonyi.

Ume argued that since Governor Umahi was sworn-in by the Chief Judge of the state and not by the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, his removal from office can only be pursed through the State House of Assembly and the state High Court.

Justice Ekwo also fixed March 14 for judgment in another suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/ 1041/21 and filed by the PDP against the governor and others.(NAN)