Appeal court voids judgment sacking Umahi for defecting to APC



The court of appeal in Abuja has overturned a judgment which sacked David Umahi as governor of Ebonyi state.


On March 8, Inyang Ekwo, judge of a federal high court in Abuja, sacked the governor and his deputy, Eric Igwe, over their defection from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC).


The judge held that the 393,042 votes polled by Umahi in the March 2019 governorship election belong to the PDP and cannot be legally transferred to the APC.


Consequently, Ekwo ordered the PDP to present another candidate or in the alternative, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) should conduct a fresh poll within 90 days.


Dissatisfied with the ruling, Umahi and his deputy filed an appeal against the judgment as well as an application staying its execution.


Delivering judgment in the appeal on Friday, a three-member panel of justices held that the Nigerian constitution does not provide any punishment for a governor or deputy governor who defects from the party on whose platform he or she was elected into office.


Haruna Tsanami, the judge, stated in the lead judgment that the sole recourse available to a political party aggrieved by the defection of a governor or deputy governor is to explore the constitutional provision of impeachment.

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