Court delivers judgement in suit aiming to remove Umahi as Governor

Court delivers judgement in suit aiming to remove Umahi as Governor

The recent defection of the Ebonyi State governor, David Umahi, to the All Progressives Congress (APC) has been upheld by the High court sitting in Abakaliki, the State.

In its ruling on Monday, the court dismissed a suit filed by Senator Sunny Ogbu Orji of the APC challenging Umahi’s defection from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Delivering judgment, Justice Henry Njoku, said the plaintiff came in an originating summons by asking the court to hold that the defendant, Governor of Ebonyi State, having defected to the APC from the party through which he was elected, ought to vacate the office of the Governor upon defection.

The judge insisted that the plaintiff had come second in the 2019 election to be sworn in instead.

Though the plaintiff did not come through relevant rules of the Court to institute their originating summons, the court went ahead in the interest of substantive justice to hear the matter of the propriety of the defection of Governor Umahi from PDP to APC.

The Plaintiff, Ogbuorji is seeking the removal of Governor David Umahi from office for abandoning the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, whose platform he and Deputy, Kelechi Igwe won the 2019 general election.

Sen. Ogbuorji argued that there is no other person in the PDP that came second in the election, that would take over from the Governor, hence he (Umahi) had abandoned the victory won under the PDP

He had urged the court to withdraw Umahi’s victory and hand it over to him, as he contested for governor under the platform of APC and had come second in the 2019 general election.

Responding, the counsel to the defendant, Roy Nwaze commended the court for dismissing the suit, adding that: “There are corresponding provisions relating to the governor and deputy governor. As far back as 2007, where the Supreme Court ruled that there are no consequences for a president and vice president defecting from one political party to another.

“It follows that when they say it applies to the president and vice president, it also applies to governors and deputy governors. The summary is that a governor can quit his political party, even if it is a day after his swearing-in, he can go to any political party. It attracts no legal consequences.

In a swift reaction, the counsel to Plaintiff, Ogbonnaya Okorie said, “We approached the court to investigate the provisions of the law vis-a-vis the defection of the Governor to the APC”.

In a remark, the Commissioner of Information and State Orientation, Mr Uchenna Orji said the dismissal of the suit has forestalled all distractions against the governor.

“I happened to be in the court when the judgement was delivered and noted all the issues. And the issues have nothing to do with the defection of the governor to the APC” he said.

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