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Court removes Umahi as Ebonyi gov, orders fresh guber election



david umahi

A Federal High Court, Abuja has ordered Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State to vacate the governorship position, for dumping the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on which platform he won the election.

The court while ordering for a fresh governorship election in the state, also ordered the PDP to present a candidate for the contest.

Umahi had after assuming power dumped the PDP for the All Progressives Congress (APC).

A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Tuesday, sacked the Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi, his Deputy, Dr Kelechi Igwe, and the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Francis Nwifuru, over their defection to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
The presiding judge, Justice Inyang Ekwo, while giving his ruling, said the defection of the trio from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), on which platform they came into power, was unlawful, unconstitutional, null and void and ordered them to immediately vacate their offices.

Justice Ekwo also ordered Umahi and his deputy to immediately stop holding themselves out as Governor and Deputy Governor of Ebonyi State, while Nwifuru was also ordered to stop parading himself as the Speaker of the State Assembly.

Justice Ekwo held that the votes that brought Umahi and the two others to office belonged to the PDP and therefore, they cannot hold on to the votes having elected to jettison the party that nominated them.

READ ALSO: Umahi’s govt has no power to declare a citizen wanted —Ebonyi PDP

Having defected to the APC, the defendants not only jettisoned the PDP, the party which brought them to power, but also the votes that belonged to it,” Justice Ekwo said in his ruling.

“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

“The votes in any election in Nigeria are to political parties, and not candidates.

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

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

The court also ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to immediately replace Umahi and Igwe with names to be provided by the PDP, or in the alternative, conduct a fresh governorship election in the state in line with section 177(c) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended.

Following Umahi’s defection from the PDP to the APC November 2020, the PDP had taken the matter to court, praying the court to make a declaration that by defecting from the party on which Umahi and Igwe were sponsored and elected, they had resigned or deemed to have resigned from office.

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