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Yoruba Group Rejects Court Ruling On Umahi, Deputy

The South-West People Parliamentary Agenda has rejected Tuesday’s judgment of the Federal High Court, Abuja, which sacked Governor David Umahi and his deputy, Dr Kelechi Igwe, from office.
 
The duo was sacked following their defection from the Peoples Democratic Party to the All Progressives Congress.

SPPA in a statement by its Convener, Balogun Abiodun, described the ruling as a glaring judicial error.
 
Balogun stated that there were already subsisting judgments of a Court of Appeal and Supreme Court over the issue of public elected office holder defecting to another political party.
 
The statement read, “SPPA attention was drawn to the recent judgement by Justice Inyang Ekwo of Abuja Federal High Court ordering Governor Dave Umahi and his deputy Dr Eric Kelechi Igwe to vacate office following their unlawful defection to the APC.
 
“Justice Inyang asked INEC not to recognise Governor Umahi and his deputy as governor and deputy governor respectfully and went further to ask PDP to forward names of replacements.
 
“The South-West people parliamentary agenda thinks and beliefs that Justice Inyang forgot to note that the issue of public elected office holder defecting to another party has been addressed and rested since 2007 when President Olusegun Obasanjo through the then Attorney-General had sort to remove Vice President Alhaji Atiku Abubakar following his defection to ACN.
 
“Delivering judgment at the Appeal Court then Justice Umaru Abdullahi declared the action of the Federal Government unconstitutional, null and void.
 
“When the case got to the Supreme Court
 ATTORNEY-GENERAL OF THE FEDERATION & 2 ORS V. ALHAJI ATIKU ABUBAKAR & 3 ORS (S.C. 31/2007) [2007] NGSC 118 (20 APRIL 2007)
 
“Justice Walter Onoghen while delivering Judgement stated that: The Supreme Court noted that there is no express provision of the vacation of office of the vice president upon defection from his sponsoring political party to a rival party. 
 
“The vice president can only resign from office as per the provisions of section 306 of the constitution. The other clear provision relating to cessation of office and removal from office is said to be impeachment in sections 143 and 144 of the constitution. Accordingly, the appeal was dismissed.
 
“So, it is amazing how Justice Inyang of the Federal High Court wishes to upturn a subsisting judgement of both the Appeal and Supreme Court.
 
“SPPA as an organization calls on Governor David Umahi Nweze, his deputy Dr Eric Kelechi and people of Ebonyi State to remain calm and go on delivering their constitutional rights as enshrined in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. We are eager to see how the Appeal and Supreme Court will react to this retrogressive judgment.”

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