Ebonyi State Governor David Umahi and his Deputy Dr. Eric Igwe petitioned the Abuja Court of Appeal Division to quash Judge Inyang Ekwo’s conviction on Tuesday, March 8, removing him from office, justifying his transition from the PDP to the APC.
The court ruled that the votes cast by politicians in the state gubernatorial elections belonged to the PDP and, after his flight, could not be transferred to the APC.
Governor Umahi and his deputy, through their team of lawyers, led by a senior Nigerian lawyer, SAN, Chukwuma Ume, in their eight appeals found that Judge Inyang Ekwo of the Abuja High Court had broken the law in his sentence and had led them to a serious miscarriage of justice.
They argued that the trial court, in judging their vacancies based on lawsuit FHC/ABJ/CS/920/2021, sought to overturn the Supreme Court’s existing decision in AG Federacja v. Atiku Abubakar and 3 ORS (2007). ) LCN/3799(SC).
They argued that the Supreme Court, in its decision, found that there was no constitutional provision that prohibited a sitting president or vice president, invariably a governor or lieutenant governor, from changing political parties.
They argued that the trial judge was wrong to say, “I have seen no example that suggests that when a governor or a lieutenant governor leaves the political party by which he was elected, he can not be prosecuted by this political party for running; for a seat (…) Article 308 of the 1999 Constitution did not provide for such a situation”.
They argued that the trial court should have dismissed the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, case because of the explicit provision of Article 308 of the 1999 (Amended) Constitution.
“The provisions of Section 308 are set forth, notwithstanding anything to the contrary in this Constitution, but subject to subsection (2) of this Section, no civil or criminal proceedings shall be instituted or prosecuted against the 3rd and 4th Appellants during his tenure as Governor and Lieutenant Governor, respectively.
There is no provision in the 1999 Constitution (as amended) that removes the third and fourth appellants from their respective roles as Governor and Lieutenant Governor of Ebony for desertion.