- No fewer than 17 lawmakers of the Ebonyi state House of Assembly were on Tuesday, March 8, ordered to vacate their seats
- The order came from the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja which ruled that the lawmakers' defection to the APC was unlawful
- The same court sacked Governor Dave Umahi and Eric Igwe, the state's deputy governor on the same day
Abuja - In its ruling on Tuesday, March 8, a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja sacked 17 members of the Ebonyi state House of Assembly over the unconstitutional defection from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The lawmakers had on November 17, 2020, joined Governor Dave Umahi and Eric Igwe, deputy governor, to move over to the ruling party, The Cable reports.
Delivering the verdict, Justice Inyang Ekwo noted that the lawmakers' defection was unlawful and that since they have dumped the party on which they were elected, they can no longer hold on to their offices.
Justice Ekwo, according to The Nation, therefore, ordered the lawmakers to stop parading themselves as members of the state's legislature.
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Justice Ekwo in a judgment on Tuesday held that their defection was unconstitutional, on grounds that the PDP won the election on March 2019 and not its candidate.
Having defected to the APC, Governor Umahi and his deputy cannot transfer the mandate of the PDP to the ruling party, the court held.
Citing section 221 of the constitution, Justice Inyang Ekwo ordered the PDP to immediately send names of replacements to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) so that fresh elections can be conducted.
Justice Ekwo also ordered the INEC to cease from recognising Umahi and Igwe as the governor and deputy governor of the Ebonyi.
Governor Umahi restates belief in God for realisation of presidential ambition
Meanwhile, Umahi had restated that his belief in God would help him realise his presidential ambition in 2023.
Umahi made this known on Sunday, February 27, during a service at the new Government House Chapel, Ochoudo Centenary City, Abakaliki.
He attended the service alongside his wife, Chief Rachel Umahi, and other top government functionaries.