The Abuja division of the Court of Appeal has set aside the judgment of the Federal High Court, Abuja sacking Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi and his deputy, Dr. Eric Kelechi Igwe for defecting from the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Justice Inyang Ekwo had in his judgment delivered on March 8, 2022, held that the total number of 393, 042 votes governor Umahi secured during the March 9, 2019 governorship election in Ebonyi state, belonged to the PDP and same could not be legally transferred to the APC.
According to the court, having defected to the APC, both Umahi and his deputy, not only jettisoned 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, “belong to the Plaintiff and no other political party”
However, a three-member panel of the appellate court in their judgment on Friday, held that the 1999 Constitution did not provide any punishment for a governor or deputy governor who defected from the party on which platform he/she got to office.
In the lead judgment, Justice Haruna Tsanami of the appellate court held that the only option opened to a political party, aggrieved by the defection of a governor or deputy governor, is to explore the impeachment option provided in the Constitution.
The Court of Appeal in Abuja aligned with an earlier decision on the same issue given by the court’s Enugu division.