An Appeal Court sitting at Enugu has upheld the verdict of the State High Court sitting in Abakaliki on the defection of Governor David Umahi, FNSE, FNATE, and his Deputy, Barr. Kelechi Igwe to All Progressives Congress, APC from PDP. The Court affirmed the ruling of the lower court that Governor Umahi and his deputy, Barr. Igwe cannot vacate office as Governor and Deputy as it is unconstitutional.
The Judge, Justice Joseph Oyowole dismissed the suit for being inconsistent with the constitution and extant laws of the country. He held that it is not known in law where a sitting governor and his deputy vacated office on the bases of defection to another political party, stressing that the Supreme Court on its earlier judgment on the matter between Alhaji Atiku Abubarkar and the attorney general of the federation has cleared the matter.
He further noted that the power to declare the holders of the offices of the governor and a deputy governor vacant was not conferred on the Judiciary by sections 180, 188, and 189 or any section of the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria as amended.
In a unanimous judgment by the three-man panel, Justice Joseph Oyowole, who read the judgment, after citing several provisions of the law on the matter, held that the appellants, Senator Sunny Ogbuorji and his deputy, Justin Mbam Ogodo could not substantiate their claims against the respondents, hence, struck out the matter and awarded the sum of 200,000 naira in favour of the respondents, Governor David Umahi and his Deputy, Barr. Kelechi Igwe.
Special Assistant to the Governor
(Media and Publicity)
April 1, 2022