The Ebonyi governor, his deputy and 15 members of the state’s House of Assembly have been ordered to vacate their seats for defecting from the party on which platform their won their positions.
A Federal High Court in Abuja gave the order on Tuesday in a ruling in which the Ebonyi Governor and his Deputy Dave Umahi and Eric Kelechi Igwe were ordered to immediately vacate their offices having unlawfully defected from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The court also ordered 15 members of the Ebonyi House of Assembly, including the Speaker, who defected from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC) to immediately vacate their seats.
Justice Inyang Ekwo, in a judgment held that having defected from the party on which platform they won the election, Umahi and Igwe are deemed to have resigned their offices.
Justice Ekwo ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to accept from PDP names of its members to replace Umahi and Igwe, to serve out the remaining part of their tenure or, in the alternative, conduct fresh election to replace Umahi and Igwe.
Ekwo, held that the total number of 393,042 votes Umahi secured at the 9th March 2019 Ebonyi State governorship election, belonged to the PDP, hence could not be legally transferred to the APC.
According to the court, both Umahi and his Igwe’s defection to the APC, not only threw out the PDP, but also the votes that belonged to it.
The judge, among others, restrained Umahi and Igwe from further holding themselves out or parading themselves as the Governor and Deputy Governor of Ebonyi State.
The judgment was on the suit filed by the PDP, with INEC, APC, Umahi and Igwe as defendants.
On the 15 lawmakers the judge held that their defection was unlawful and that having abandoned that political party on which platform they stood election, they could no longer occupy the seats.
Justice Ekwo declared their seats vacant and restrained them from further parading themselves in the capacity of members of the Ebonyi State House of Assembly.