The court ruled that having regard to section 188 (1) of the 1999 Constitution as amended, Umahi and his deputy have not offended any provision of the Constitution or the Electoral Act in defecting to the APC.
Appeal Court sitting in Enugu on Friday affirmed the judgement of Ebonyi State High Court, Abakaliki, which quashed a suit challenging the defection of Governor Dave Umahi and his deputy, Dr Kelechi Igwe, to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The suit seeking Umahi’s sack was filed by the candidate of the APC in the 2019 election, Senator Suny Ogbuoji and his running mate, Mr Justin Mbam Ogodo. Umahi, at the time, was in the PDP.
Ugbuoji’s suit was aimed at countering an earlier judgment that gave the PDP the governorship of Ebonyi State after sacking Umahi.
But Ogbuoji had through originating summons, asked the Court to hold that Umahi, having defected to the APC from the PDP, ought to vacate the office so that he would be sworn-in having come second in the election.
But Justice Henry Njoku of the Ebonyi State High Court dismissed the suit for lacking in merit.
Njoku ruled that having regard to section 188 (1) of the 1999 Constitution as amended, the defendants, Governor Umahi and Deputy, had not offended any provision of the Constitution or the Electoral Act in defecting to the APC.
A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja had earlier sacked Umahi and his deputy following their defection from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
in a judgement that was delivered by Justice Inyang Ekwo, held that the total number of 393,042 votes Umahi secured during the March 9, 2019 governorship election in Ebonyi State, belonged to the PDP and same could not be legally transferred to the APC.
According to the court, having defected to the APC, both Umahi and his deputy, not only jettisoned the PDP, but also the votes that belonged to it.
It held that going by the outcome of the governorship election, the office of the governor and deputy governor in Ebonyi state, “belong to the Plaintiff (PDP) and no other political party”.
“There is no constitutional provision that made the ballot transferrable from one party to the other”.