Umahi (file photo)
Why Ebonyi High Court reinstated Umahi as governor
An Ebonyi State High Court has reinstated Engr Dave Umahi and Dr Eric Igwe as governor and deputy governor of Ebonyi State, respectively.
Justice Henry Njoku gave the order pursuant to a motion exparte brought before the court and moved by counsel to the applicants, Roy Nwaaeze.
The governor and his deputy, who are the applicants in the suit, approached the court pursuant to order 39 rule 3 subsection 3 of the high court rules of the state and under the inherent jurisdiction of the court.
They asked the court to grant an interim order for seven days and subject to renewal that in view of its judgement delivered on February 28 which takes precedence over any subsequent contrary judgement, the applicants shall not be removed from office.
On February 28, the court had dismissed the suit filed by the plaintiffs, Senator Soni Ogbuoji, Justin Ogodo and the APC, who challenged the defection of the governor and his deputy.
They asked the court to hold that having defected to APC from the PDP, the party under which he was elected, Umahi and his deputy ought to vacate the office of the governor upon defection and that the plaintiff having come second in the 2019 election, be sworn in instead.
In his judgment, Justice Njoku held that the applicants had not violated any provision of the constitution or the electoral act in their defection to the APC.
The court dismissed the suit filed by the plaintiffs for lacking in merit and awarded five hundred thousand naira (N500,000,000) as damages against Umahi and his deputy.
Reacting to the exparte order, the state’s Commissioner for Justice during a press briefing said the judgement reiterates earlier judgement that the seats of the governor and his deputy are not vacant.