The Enugu Division of the Court of Appeal has dismissed an appeal seeking to remove Ebonyi State Governor Dave Umahi and his deputy Kelechi Igwe from office.
Senator Sonni Ogbuoji, the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate in the 2019 general election, and his running mate, Mbam Ogodo, filed the appeal.
The court held yesterday in a unanimous decision delivered by Justice J. O. K. Oyewole that the appellants, Ogbuoji and Ogodo, lacked locus standi in their bid to supplant the respondents.
Although the governor and his deputy’s defection from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC) appeared immoral, Oyewole stated that the constitution did not provide for their removal from office.
“While defection of elected executives is not unusual in our political system, it must be done in accordance with the constitution.” “The defection may appear immoral, but they have the right to associate,” he said.
According to the judge, there are no express constitutional provisions for the consequences of a governor or deputy governor defecting to another party.
He stated that it was not the court’s responsibility to begin making laws or inserting words into express provisions of the constitution.
Umahi and Igwe were the PDP’s governorship and deputy governorship candidates in the 2019 election, while Ogbuoji and Ogodo were the APC’s governorship and deputy governorship candidates. Umahi and his deputy, on the other hand, defected to the APC in 2020.
Ogbuoji and Ogodo had approached a State High Court in Abakaliki through their counsel, Mr. Ogbonnaya Okolie, seeking their removal on the grounds that they abandoned the platforms that brought them to power.
They told the court that Umahi and Igwe, who were sponsored by the PDP in the election, had abandoned their seats due to their actions.
They asked the court for permission to make declarations that would allow them to replace the respondents as governor and deputy governor, respectively.
However, the trial court dismissed their case because it lacked merit. This prompted the appeals court case.
Mazi Akachukwu Udo Obinwannem News writer / 02/04/2022