The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has reacted to the judgment of Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court in Abuja which sacked Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi, and his deputy, Eric Igwe.
KanyiDaily recalls that on Monday, March 8, 2022, Justice Ekwo had ordered Umahi and Igwe to vacate their seats as Ebonyi governor and deputy over their defection from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressive Congress (APC).
Justice Ekwo held that the 393,042 votes polled by Umahi and Igwe in the March 9, 2019 governorship election belonged to the PDP and cannot be legally transferred to the APC.
The judge 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 in line with section 177(c) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended.
Reacting to the court ruling on Wednesday, the Chief Press Secretary to the INEC chairman, Rotimi Oyekanmi, said the commission is yet to receive the certified copy of the judgment.
Oyekanmi said: “As at the close of work yesterday, Tuesday 8th March, the Commission had not received the Certified True Copy of the judgment of the Federal High Court on the matter. It is only when this happens that the Commission will meet and take a decision.”
Meanwhile, the PDP has submitted the names of Iduma Igariwey as governor nominee and Fred Udogwu, deputy governor nominee, to the INEC.
The party called on INEC to immediately withdraw the Certificates of Return from Umahi and Igwe and immediately issue same to Igariwey and Udogwu.
But Governor David Umahi has insisted that he’s still Ebonyi governor, adding that Justice Inyang Ekwo lacks the power to remove him from office with his judgment.