Justice Iyang Ekwo of the Abuja High Court has ordered the Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi and his deputy, Eric Igwe, to vacate their seats as the sitting governor and deputy governors of the State.
Justice Ekwo in a ruling on Tuesday passed the judgment on grounds that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) won the election on March 2019 and not its candidate and since the two politicians have defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC), it would be unfair to transfer the mandate of the PDP to its opposition.
Citing section 221 of the constitution, Justice Ekwo ordered the PDP immediately send names of replacements to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) so that fresh elections can be conducted.
He also ordered INEC to cease from recognising Umahi and Igwe as the governor and deputy governor of the Ebonyi State.
The presiding therefore ordered the governor and his deputy to vacate office saying their defection was illegal, null and unconstitutional.
He ordered INEC to receive names of candidates from the PDP to replace Umahi and Igwe.
The governor and his deputy defected from the PDP on whose platform they were elected into office in the 2015 and 2019 general elections to the APC.
Determined to reclaim its mandate, the PDP sued the Umahi, Igwe, the APC and INEC.
The court noted that the crux of the matter was the defection of the 3rd and 4th from the PDP to the APC, adding that the averments of the 3rd and 4th Defendants did not address the issue of defection rightly and frontally but rather resorted to general denial to affidavit evidence.
Consequently, the court declared that under the democratic system operated in Nigeria, the plaintiff which in this case is the PDP won the majority of votes during the election and is entitled to enjoy same till end of tenure of office for which the election was made.