Defection: Court Sacks Ebonyi Governor, David Umahi And His Deputy, Eric Igwe
A Federal High Court in Abuja has sacked Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi, and his Deputy, Eric Kelechi Igwe, over their defection from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressive Congress (APC).
KanyiDaily recalls that Umahi had announced his detection to the APC on Tuesday, November 17, 2020, saying his action was a protest against the “injustice” done to the South-East by the PDP.
Consequently, the PDP had instituted a suit against the governor, his deputy, the APC, and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on grounds that it (PDP) won the Ebonyi governorship election in March 2019 and not its candidate.
The PDP asked the court to make a declaration that by defecting from the party on which they were sponsored and elected as governor and deputy governor of Ebonyi, they have resigned or deemed to have resigned from office.
Court Dismiss David Umahi And Eric Kelechi Igwe
In the judgment delivered on Monday, March 8, 2022, the judge, Inyang Ekwo held that the 393,042 votes polled by Umahi in the March 9, 2019 governorship election belonged to the PDP and cannot be legally transferred to the APC.
The court noted that both Umahi and his Igwe’s defection to the APC, not only threw out 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, “belongs to the plaintiff and no other political party”.
“There is no constitutional provision that made the ballot transferrable from one party to the other,” Ekwo held.
It held that the PDP was bound to retain the votes and mandate that was given to it by electorates in Ebonyi State, as both governor Umahi and his Deputy could not validly transfer same to APC.
The court, therefore, ordered both Umahi and Igwe to immediately vacate their positions.
It ordered the INEC to immediately receive from the PDP, names of persons to replace Umahi and his Deputy, or in the alternative, conduct a fresh gubernatorial election in Ebonyi State in line with section 177(c) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended.
The court further restrained both Umahi and Igwe from further parading themselves as governor or deputy governor of Ebonyi State.
The judgement followed a suit the PDP lodged before the court.
KanyiDaily recalls that Governor David Umahi had recently declared his intention to run for the presidency in the 2023 general election, saying he was acting on God’s directive.