Court strikes out Umahi’s motion to stop removal from office


A federal high court in Abuja has struck out a motion filed by David Umahi, governor of Ebonyi, and his deputy, Eric Igwe, seeking to stay execution of the judgment that sacked them from office.

According to the legal counsel to the Governor and his deputy, Chukwuma MaChukwu Ume the decision is hinged on the fact that they have now approached the Court of Appeal, Abuja Division, to reverse the March 8 decision of the court which removed them from office, to ensure they are reinstated.

Ume prayed the court for the withdrawal of the motion, a request that was not objected to by another SAN, Emmanuel Ukala, who represented the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

At the resumed hearing, Ume informed the court of his intention to withdraw the two motions for stay of execution dated March 9 on the grounds that an appeal had been entered at the Court of Appeal on the matter.

Counsel for the PDP, Emmanuel Ukala, SAN, did not oppose the application.

In a short ruling, Justice Inyang struck out the motion, with the focus now turned to the appellate court in the quest to reinstate the sacked governor and his deputy.

The judge, Inyang Ekwo had on March 8 sacked the governor and his deputy from their offices over their defection from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC).

The judge held that the 393,042 votes polled by Umahi in the March 2019 governorship election belonged to the PDP and cannot be legally transferred to the APC.

Relying on Section 221 of the Constitution, Justice Ekwo had ordered the PDP to immediately send names of replacements to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and ordered the governor and his deputy to vacate their offices.

But in the motion on notice dated March 9, Umahi and Igwe prayed the court for an order staying the execution of its orders made the previous day.

They had also asked the court to stay the execution of its order directing INEC to hold a governorship election, in accordance with Section 177(C) of the 1999 Constitution.

Among several other prayers, the governor and his deputy sought an order staying the execution of the order of the court directing the electoral umpire to immediately declare the persons nominated by the PDP as governor and deputy governor of Ebonyi State respectively.

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