- INEC said it has not concluded deliberations on the court judgement that sacked David Umahi of Ebonyi state, his deputy, Kelechi Igwe, and 16 lawmakers
- The electoral body said it had not reached a conclusion on the subject as well as other legal matters filed recently
- Festus Okoye, INEC's spokesman, said the commission will deliberate on the matter next week after which the commission would make its decision public
FCT, Abuja - The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said it will make decisions next week on court orders and motions regarding the defection of Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi state, his deputy, Kelechi Igwe, and 16 lawmakers from the PDP to the APC.
Legit.ng recalls that Umahi, his deputy and the 16 lawmakers were sacked in a rather shocking verdict by the Federal High Court in Abuja over their defection from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the ruling APC over a year ago.
The court also directed INEC to replace the elected officials with new names from the PDP.
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However, the commission on Thursday said it had not reached a conclusion on the subject as well as other legal matters filed in recent months.
Okoye said that within the last three months, INEC had been joined in 71 new cases in various courts across the country, including those litigations on the defections of the elected officers in Ebonyi state.
Why we deferred deliberation on Ebonyi issue - INEC spokesman
Okoye said the commission had to defer deliberation on the Ebonyi case due to the court processes that have been served regarding the matter.
He also disclosed that INEC had been served with 10 separate court orders and motions on the defection of Umahi, Kelechi, and 16 members of the State House of Assembly.
Okoye said that INEC met on Thursday and deliberated on a wide range of issues, including the rising tide of litigations that did not directly involve the Commission, but in which the principal parties joined it.
The statement read partly:
“The commission has been served with nine separate Orders and Motions from various Courts on this matter.
“Just as the commission was about to commence deliberation on them, its attention was drawn to additional Court processes served on March 17, in respect of the matter.
“Consequently, the commission decided to defer its deliberation on the Ebonyi cases and stepped down the listed Memorandum.
“This to enable its Legal Services and Clearance Committee to study the new processes in the light of the previously served ones and advise the Commission comprehensively.
“The commission will meet again next week to deliberate on the matter and thereafter make its decision public.”
While Umahi's sack remains a subject of discussion especially among senior lawyers, the governor has remained in his position in the state despite the clamour of the PDP for him to step aside.
The PDP, in compliance with the court order, had submitted the names of Iduma Igariwey, a member of the House of Representatives, and Fred Udogwu as the replacement for Umahi and Igwe respectively.
PDP Rep member declares himself Ebonyi governor
Meanwhile, following his nomination by the PDP, Igariwey, said in the eye of the law, he is the governor of Ebonyi state since Tuesday, March 8, when the Federal High Court, Abuja sacked Umahi.
Speaking with journalists in Abuja on Thursday, March 10, Igariwey said that by the order made by Justice Ekwo, Umahi ceased to be governor of Ebonyi state.
Igariwey wondered why days after the judgment Governor Umahi and his deputy still parade themselves as if they still occupy those offices.