- The lawmaker representing Ebonyi South senatorial zone at the Senate, Sonni Ogbuoji, has been sacked
- The lawmaker was sacked by a Federal High Court sitting in Abakaliki for defecting from the political party on whose platform he was elected as senator
- The court ordered Ogbuoji to vacate his seat immediately and also asked INEC to withdraw the certificate of return issued to him immediately and conduct a fresh election to fill the seat
The seat of the lawmaker representing Ebonyi South senatorial zone at the Senate, Sonni Ogbuoji, has been declared vacant by a Federal High Court sitting in Abakaliki, the state capital.
The lawmaker, Sonni Ogbuoji, was sacked by the court for defecting from the party he was elected, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The court, which ordered the lawmaker to vacate the seat immediately, ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to withdraw the certificate of return issued to him immediately and conduct a fresh election to fill the seat.
According to Justice Akintola Aluko, Ogbuoji flouted section 68(1)g of the 1999 constitution by defecting from the party under whose platform he was elected, New Telegraph reports.
Legit.ng notes that said section 68(1)g says "A member of Senate or House of Representatives shall vacate his seat in the House if being a person whose election to the house was sponsored by another political party, he becomes a member of another political party before the expiration of the period for which that house was elected. Provided that his membership of the latter political party is not as a result of a division in the political party which he was previously a member or of a merger of two or more political parties or factions by one of which he was previously sponsored”
The suit was filed by filed by Evo Ogbonnaya Anegu, Oti Ama Ude, Uche Richard Ajali, Una Sunday Okoro and Simon Ajali Ogbadu for themselves and on behalf of the teaming members of the PDP in Ebonyi south Senatorial district.
The PDP members, who added INEC as second respondent, asked the court to declare the senator’s seat vacant for defecting to the APC when there was no crisis or division in the PDP.
They also asked the court to order Ogbuoji to refund all monies that may have been paid to him since January 2018 when he defected from The PDP to the APC.
In his ruling, the judge declared: “By the evidence before me, I find that the 1st defendant is guilty of unholy political flirtation and coquetry which the makers and drafters of the constitution resolved to outlaw by the enactment of section 68(1)g of the constitution.
Having failed to vacate his seat in the senate following his unconstitutional defection in a manner that suggests that he ate his cake and still wanted to have it, he is liable to be forced out and refund to the National Assembly all monies in form of salaries, allowances, or whatsoever paid to him by virtue of his unconstitutional holding on to the position as a senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria beginning from the date of his unconstitutional defection till date."
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The sum of N500,000 was awarded in favour of the plaintiff and against the 1st defendant.
Meanwhile, Legit.ng previously reported that the Federal High Court Abuja on Wednesday, April 4, sacked Senator Peter Nwaoboshi, the senator-elect for Delta North senatorial district.
Justice Ahmed Mohammed gave the order while delivering judgment in a suit filed by Ned Nwoko challenging the election of Nwaoboshi as the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the October 2, 2018 primaries of the party held in Delta.
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