- The appeal court has dismissed the suit seeking to declare the seats of Governor David Umahi and his deputy vacant
- The suit was dismissed by Justice A.O. Belgore on Friday, April 1, on the grounds of being inconsistent with the constitution and extant laws of the country
- Recall that the 2019 APC candidate in Ebonyi filed a suit asking the court to declare Umahi's seat vacant after defection from PDP
A suit seeking to declare the seats of Governor David Umahi and his deputy, Dr. Kelechi Igwe, vacant has been dismissed by the appeal court sitting in Enugu.
Justice A.O. Belgore on Friday, April 1, dismissed the suit on the grounds of being inconsistent with the constitution and extant laws of the country.
This was made known in a statement on Friday, April 1, by Francis Nwaze, the special assistant to the governor on media and publicity which was made available to Legit.ng.
The judge said it is not known in law where a sitting governor and his deputy vacated office on the bases of defection to another political party, stressing that the Supreme Court in its earlier judgment on the case between Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and the attorney general of the federation has cleared the matter.
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Appeal court affirms ruling of lower court
Nwaze noted that the appeal court upheld the verdict of the state high court sitting in Abakaliki that Umahi and Igwe cannot vacate office as governor and deputy as it is unconstitutional.
The suit was filed by the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2019 Ebonyi governorship election, Senator Sonni Ogbuoji and his deputy, Chief Justin Ogbodo Mbam.
Ogbuoji and Mbam had demanded the court to declare the seats of Governor Umahi and his deputy vacant on account of their defection from the Peoples Democratic Party to the APC.
In a unanimous judgment by the three-man panel, Justice Joseph Oyowole, after citing several provisions of the law on the matter, held that the appellants could not substantiate their claims against the respondents.
The sum of N200,000 was awarded in favour of the respondents, Umahi, and the deputy governor.
INEC releases fresh updates on Ebonyi governor’s sack
Legit.ng previously reported that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said it will put on hold all actions on court judgment which saw Ebonyi state governor, and his deputy get axed from the administrative seat of the state.
INEC says the decision was based on the numerous court orders that have consistently been issued to the electoral body over the conflicting and controversial issue of the Ebonyi state seat of power.
The INEC commissioner, Festus Okoye, in a statement issued on Thursday, March 24 said that after many considerations and discussions within the administrators of the electoral body, INEC decided to suspend further actions.