Defection: Court strike out suit seeking Umahi’s removal from office 

By Ruth Oginyi

A high court sitting in Abakaliki, Ebonyi state capital southeast Nigeria Monday strike out a suit challenging the defection of Governor David Umahi to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC). 

Senator Sonni Ogbuoji who represented Ebonyi south zone in the Senate between 2015 and 2019, had approached the court seeking Umahi’s vacation of office as the Governor of the state has resigned from the People’s Democratic Party(PDP) and joined APC.

Ogbuoji also prayed the court to declare him Governor of the state having come second in 2019 the election under the All progressive congress (APC).

Delivering judgment on the suit, the Presiding Judge, Justice Henry Njoku, explained that the plaintiff came through originating summons.

He said that though the plaintiff did not come through relevant rules of Court to institute his originating summons, the Court still went ahead in the interest of substantive justice to hear the matter of the propriety of the defection of Umahi from PDP to APC 

He held that having regard to section 188 (1) of the 1999 Constitution as amended, Umahi did not violate any provision of the Constitution or the Electoral Act in his defection to APC.

The Court further held that having regard to section 308 of the Constitution, it is even wrong to institute criminal or civil proceedings against the office of the Governor. 

It, therefore, dismissed the suit for lacking in merit and awarded Five Hundred Thousand Naira (N500, 000.00) as damages against the plaintiff.

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