Court Sacks David Umahi And Eric Igwe
This comes following the judgment of Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court in Abuja that Governor David Umahi and his deputy, Eric Igwe, should immediately vacate their seats due to their defection to the All Progressive Congress (APC).
Justice 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.
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.
PDP Submits Nominees To INEC
During a press conference in Abuja, PDP National Chairman, Sen. Iyorchia Ayu said the party has submitted the names of Iduma Igariwey as governor nominee and Fred Udogwu, deputy governor nominee.
Ayu said that the decision was made after due consultation with party stakeholders at the national and Ebonyi State chapter, in compliance with Monday’s court judgment, which sacked Umahi and Igwe for defecting to the ruling APC.
He called on INEC to immediately withdraw the Certificates of Return from Umahi and Igwe and immediately issue same to Igariwey and Udogwu.
Ayu appreciated the court judgment and the court, presided over by Justice Inyang Ekwo, for the judgment, describing it as a landmark judgment.
He said, “First, we want to appreciate the Nigerian Judiciary for this landmark judgement. The ruling will bring order in the political space and check the issue of political rascality and stolen mandates. The judiciary is indeed the backbone of this democracy.
“We also want to single out Justice Ekwo for special recognition, particularly for being courageous and forthright in going for the substance of the law rather than the technicalities.
“And in line with the court order, PDP is immediately submitting to INEC the names of our candidates for Governor and Deputy Governor of Ebonyi state respectively.
“Furthermore, we call on the Chief Judge of Ebonyi state to immediately swear them in as soon as INEC issues the Certificates of Return.
“And lastly, we call on INEC to immediately withdraw the Certificates of Return from the 17 lawmakers and commence the process of conducting bye-elections to replace them.”
Ayu noted that in the same ruling, the court sacked the 17 members of the Ebonyi State House of Assembly who also defected with the governor and his deputy to the APC.
He recalled that Umahi, his deputy and the 17 lawmakers were elected on the PDP platform in 2015 and again in 2019, but defected to the APC on November 17, 2020, citing “injustice done to the South-East.”
“And determined to reclaim our stolen mandates, the PDP had sued them and joined both the APC and INEC in the suit.
“We had prayed the court to declare that by defecting from the PDP, on whose platform they were sponsored and elected, Umahi, Igwe and the 17 lawmakers had resigned or deemed to have resigned from office on the day of their defections.”
He said that the Federal High Court, sitting in Abuja, gave the PDP and democracy justice today.
Meanwhile, 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.