A Federal High Court in Abuja has on Tuesday ruled to unseat Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi, his Deputy, Dr Eric Igwe and other legislators as leaders of the state, following their defection from PDP to APC.
On November 17, 2020, the Ebonyi State Governor, his Deputy and other state lawmakers defected from the party under which they won the 2019 elections (PDP) to Nigeria’s ruling party (APC).
From 2020 till date, three sitting governors in Nigeria have defected from the PDP to the ruling party, APC. They are Ben Ayade of Cross River State, David Umahi of Ebonyi State and Bello Matawalle of Zamfara State.
The presiding judge, Inyang Ekwo, in his ruling cited section 109 (1) (g) of the 1999 constitution, which held that defectors cannot keep their seats unless they can justify their actions for defecting. The judge asked Nigeria’s electoral commission to either accept a list of candidates from the PDP or hold an election in 90 days to fill up the positions.
For the sacked legislators to return to their political positions, they would need to present strong evidence against their former parties (PDP) to justify their defections.
Governor David Umahi insists he remains the Governor of Ebonyi State and has forwarded a petition to the Nigeria Judicial Council against Judge Inyang Ekwo.
The All-Progressive Party has called for calm amongst its supporters, stating that the court’s decision is a judicial error. Following the Federal High Court’s ruling in favor of the PDP, the party is also seeking to unseat Gov. Ben Ayade and Gov. Bello Matawalle who defected to the APC in 2021.