Umahi's Sack: List of Governors, Senators, Reps, State Lawmakers Who May Lose their Seats over Defection

Umahi's Sack: List of Governors, Senators, Reps, State Lawmakers Who May Lose their Seats over Defection

On Tuesday, March 8, a Federal High Court in Abuja gave a shocking judgement as it sacked Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi state and his deputy, Eric Igwe, over their defection from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC)

The presiding judge, Justice Inyang Ekwo, also asked the lawmakers in the state House of Assembly, including the Speaker, who followed Umahi to the APC to vacate their seats.

Umahi's Sack: Governors Who May also Lose their Seats over Defection
Governor Umahi sacked for defecting to APC. Photo credit: Femi Adesina
Source: Facebook
“The votes in any election in Nigeria are to political parties, and not candidates,” the judge held.

Justice Ekwo also ruled that all salaries and allowances collected by the defendants from the period of defection to the present should be forfeited to the government coffers.

If this judgement stands, at least two other Nigerian governors may suffer the same fate.

Read also

Defection: Dogara to be sacked? Date fixed for court verdict

PAY ATTENTION: Subscribe to Digital Talk newsletter to receive must-know business stories and succeed BIG!

Umahi's Sack: Ayade, Matawalle and Lawmakers Who May Be Removed
Governors Ayade, Matawalle risk losing their seats over defection to APC. Photo credit: @BashirAhmaad
Source: Twitter

Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River state

Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River state and his deputy, Ivara Esu, also left the PDP for the APC in May 2021.

Just like the situation in Ebonyi, the PDP had instituted a suit before a Federal High Court in Abuja, praying the court to, among others, sack Ayade and his deputy for defecting to the APC.

In the suit filed by a team of lawyers led by Emmanuel Ukala (SAN), the PDP argued that the mandate was given by the Cross River electorate to the party on whose platform Ayade contested, adding that the mandate cannot be transferred to the APC or any other political party.

Governor Bello Matawalle of Zamfara state

In June 2021, Governor Bello Matawalle of Zamfara state defected from the PDP to the APC.

Read also

Defection: As court sacked Cross Rivers lawmakers, Ayade, Matawalle, other legislators may go next

Some aggrieved members of the PDP subsequently headed to the court, asking for Matawalle's sack over his defection.

However, a Federal High Court sitting in Gusau, Zamfara State, in February, struck out the suit.

Delivering a ruling on Monday, February 7, the presiding judge, Aminu Aliyu, held that the court lacked the jurisdiction to entertain the matter.

He also ruled that the constitution of the PDP and the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria do not, in any way, prohibit any person from joining any association or political party.

Aliyu said it was only an election tribunal or state house of assembly that could remove a governor from office.

Nevertheless, there is another pending suit against Governor Matawalle before the Supreme Court.

The suit filed solely by the PDP is supported by a 26-point affidavit deposed by the National Secretary of the party, Senator Umar Tsuari, according to This Day.

Read also

Umahi's sack: Anxiety as court fixes date for Governor Ayade's judgement

Lawmakers who may be affected

At the Edo State House of Assembly, two lawmakers, Yekini Idaiye (Akoko-Edo 1) and Nosayaba Okunbor ( Orhionmwon East), dumped the PDP for the APC in February 2021.

They may lose their seats if the PDP eventually drags them to court.

In the National Assembly, a number of lawmakers (at the Senate and House of Reps) equally stand the risk of being removed from office by court over defection.

In the Senate, at least six senators have dumped the PDP for the APC. They are:

  1. Senator Stella Oduah (Anambra North)
  2. Elisha Abbo (Adamawa North)
  3. Peter Nwabaoshi (Delta North)
  4. Sahabi Ya’u (Zamfara North)
  5. Lawali Anka (Zamfara West)
  6. Emmanuel Bwacha (Taraba Central)

At the House of Reps, some of the lawmakers who defected from the PDP to the APC are:

  1. Jonathan Gaza (Nasarawa state)
  2. Ephreaim Nwuzi (Etche/Omuma federal constituency, Rivers state)
  3. David Abel (Gashaka/Kurmi/Sardauna federal constituency, Taraba state)
  4. Idagbo Ochiglegoor (Obanliku/Obudu/Bekwarra federal constituency, Cross River state)
  5. Michael Etaba (Obubra/Etung federal constituency, Cross River state)
  6. Reps Bello Hassan Shinkafi (Zamfara state)
  7. Ahmed Bakura (Zamfara state)
  8. Ahmed Shehu (Zamfara state)
  9. Suleiman Gumi (Zamfara state)

Read also

Breaking: Anxiety as armed security operatives take over Cross River assembly

From APC to PDP: Yahaya Fatuba

Meanwhile, in an usual move, Yahaya Fatuba, a member of the House of Representatives, also recently dumped the APC for the PDP.

Fatuba who is from Gombe State revealed his decision in a letter read by the speaker of the of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila at the plenary.

The letter read on the floor of the House by the Speaker quoted the lawmaker as saying that the crisis in the party necessitated his exit.

Umahi, deputy appeal sack ruling

Meanwhile, Governor Umahi and his deputy, Kelechi Igwe have appealed the court ruling which ordered for their sack from office.

The duo according to the notice of appeal in suit no:FHC/ABJ/CS/920/2021 filed at the Abuja Judicial Division of the Appellate Court, disagreed with entire judgement of the lower court which ordered their sack over defection, The Nation reported.

They listed eight grounds of appeal against the lower court’s judgment.

Read also

BREAKING: Court sacks 20 lawmakers from another state for defecting to APC

Governor, deputy can’t be sacked for changing political parties - Ozekhome

Also speaking on the development, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mike Ozekhome, has faulted the sacking of Umahi and his deputy over defection.

Ozekhome said the “tenure of office of a Governor and his Deputy are constitutional matters”.

According to Sahara Reporters, the senior lawyer submitted that the verdict "will surely be set aside on appeal."

PDP submits names of nominees to replace Umahi, deputy to INEC

Meanwhile, the PDP has submitted the names of its nominees for governor and deputy governor of Ebonyi state, respectively, to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Iyorchia Ayu, the national chairman of the PDP, at a media briefing on Tuesday, said the party had nominated Iduma Igariwe and Fred Udogwu to replace Umahi and Igwe respectively.


Online view pixel