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Defection: Appeal Court rules in favour of Umahi, deputy




THE Appeal Court in Enugu on Friday upheld the judgment of an Abakaliki High Court which dismissed a suit seeking the removal of Ebonyi State governor Dave Umahi and his deputy, Kelechi Igwe, over their defection from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressive Congress (APC).

The suit was brought by Sunny Ogbuoji, the APC candidate and runner up in the 2019 governorship election in Ebonyi State.

Ogbuoji had asked the court to declare the governorship seat vacant on account of Umahi and Igwe’s defection from the PDP to the APC.


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The court was asked to order that Ogbuoji and his running mate, Justin Mbam Ogodo, be sworn in immediately since they came second in the governorship election.

Justice Henry Njoku of the Abakiliki High Court had dismissed the suit for lacking in merit, following which Ogbuoji approached the Court of Appeal in Enugu.

He asked the Court of Appeal to overturn the decision of the Abakiliki High Court.

However, delivering judgment in the application filed by Ogbuoji on Friday, a panel of the Court of Appeal Enugu led by Justice Alfa Belgore held that the appeal lacked merit and that the cases sighted are totally irrelevant to the matter brought before the court.

Justice Belgore noted that the removal of elected officials lies in the hands of the legislature and must be in line with the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended.

He held that no legal action can be taken against a sitting president, vice president, governor and deputy governor in line with Section 308 of the Constitution.

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