The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Thursday said it has not concluded deliberations on the court judgement that sacked David Umahi of Ebonyi State, his deputy, Kelechi Igwe, and 16 members of the state House of Assembly.
In a rather shocking verdict, Messrs Umahi, Igwe and the 16 lawmakers were removed by the Federal High Court in Abuja over their defection from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the ruling APC over a year ago.
The court also directed INEC to replace the elected officials with new names from the PDP.
However, after its meeting on Thursday, the commission said it had not reached a conclusion on the subject as well as other legal matters filed in recent months.
In a statement signed by its spokesperson, Festus Okoye, the commission disclosed that it has been joined in 71 new cases in various courts across the country in the last three months, adding that many of those cases were not directly its concerns.
“The Commission was briefed by its Litigation and Prosecution Department, including an update on litigations, showing that in the last three months, the Commission has been joined in seventy-one new cases in various Courts across the country. Most of these cases, including the widely discussed one on Ebonyi State, involve either intra-party issues or litigants seeking for various reliefs from the Courts that entail consequential orders that are binding on the Commission,” the INEC spokesperson said.
He attributed the commission’s inability to arrive at a decision on the matter as planned to the receipt of additional nine orders and motions around the issue.
He said delieration on the matter was deferred till next week after which the commission would make its decision public.
“The Commission has been served with nine separate Orders and Motions from various Courts on this matter. Just as the Commission was about to commence deliberation on them, its attention was drawn to additional Court processes served today in respect of the matter.
“Consequently, the Commission decided to defer its deliberation on the Ebonyi cases and stepped down the listed Memorandum to enable its Legal Services and Clearance Committee to study the new processes in the light of the previously served ones and advise the Commission comprehensively. The Commission will meet again next week to deliberate on the matter and thereafter make its decision public,” Mr Okoye further disclosed.
While the dismissal of Mr Umahi remains a subject of discussion in many different quarters, the governor has remained in his position in the state despite the clamour of the PDP for him to step aside.
The PDP, in compliance with the court order last week, submitted the names of Iduma Igariwey, a member of the House of Representatives, and Fred Udogwu as the replacement for Messrs Umahi and Igwe respectively.