A semblance of a political tsunami hit Ebonyi state South-East Nigeria as a Federal High Court in Abuja, on Tuesday, sacked Governor of Ebonyi State, David Umahi, his Deputy, Dr Eric Kelechi Igwe, and the 17 lawmakers in the State House of Assembly over their defection from the Peoples Democratic Party to the All Progressive Congress.
A landmark judgement, delivered by Justice Inyang Ekwo, held that the total number of 393,042 votes Umahi secured at the March 9, 2019 Ebonyi State governorship election belonged to the PDP, hence could not be legally transferred to the APC.
The court noted that both Umahi and Igwe and the affected lawmaker’s defection to the APC, not only threw out the PDP, but also the votes that belonged to the party.
The judgement followed a suit the PDP filed before the court.
According to the court, having defected to the APC, both Umahi his deputy and the lawmakers, not only jettisoned the PDP, but also the votes that belonged to it.
It held that going by the outcome of the governorship elections, the office of the governor, deputy governor and the lawmakers in Ebonyi state, “belong to the Plaintiff and no other political party”.
“There is no constitutional provision that made the ballot transferrable from one party to the other”.
It held that the PDP is bound to retain the votes and mandate that was given to it by electorates in Ebonyi state, as both governor Umahi, his Deputy and the lawmakers could not validly transfer same to APC.
The court, therefore, ordered Umahi, Igwe and the lawmakers to immediately vacate their positions.
It ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to immediately receive from the PDP, names of persons to replace Umahi, his Deputy and the lawmakers or in the alternative, conduct a fresh elections to fill the affected political offices in Ebonyi state in line with section 177(c) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended.
The court further restrained both Umahi, Igwe and the lawmakers from further parading themselves as as holders of the affected political offices in Ebonyi state.