APC Faults Justice Inyang On Sack of Governor Umahi, Deputy, Others …Says It’s Travesty of Justice


The national leadership of the All Progressives Congress on Wednesday picked holes in the judgment of Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court, FCT, Abuja, which sacked Governor Dave Umahi, his Deputy and 16 lawmakers of the state House of Assembly.

The APC described the judgment  as a clear case of travesty of justice and judicial recklessness which is dead on arrival.

The party urged the people of Ebonyi State, the associates and fans of the Governor of Ebonyi State, His Excellency, Engr David Nweze Umahi (Akubaraoha) to go about their normal business and disregard the outcome of the Ekwo Judgment.  

The party said that the judgement has no iota of effect on Umahi as the governor is sitting solidly and undistracted.

The Director of Publicity, APC National headquarters, Abuja, Salisu Na’inna Ɗambatta said the judge was in error as he did not rely on any authority from the constitution to back his judgement.
He stated also that the judge did not take into consideration the difference the candidate of a political party and a sitting Governor of a State.

“The presiding judge committed a glaring judicial error by giving judgment sacking a duly elected and sworn-in Governor and his Deputy without relying on or citing any provision(s) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria or any provision of the Electoral Act that empowers the court to sack a sitting Governor and or his Deputy. This is purely a travesty of justice.

 “The court failed, refused and or neglected to understand the clear difference between a governorship candidate of a Political Party as contemplated by the Electoral Act and a Governor of a State duly sworn in as contemplated by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

“The court presided by Hon. Justice Inyang Ekwo further went ahead to rely on the outdated authority of Amaechi v INEC ( Omegha case) without exercising the judicial power of judicial distinction between pre-election/ electon matters and this matter of elected Governor defecting to another Political Party. He chose not to appreciate or he lacked the understanding of the difference between a Governor of a State and Governorship candidate of a Political Party.”

“The Electoral Act and the judgment in Amaechi v INEC contemplate who the right candidate of the party is and not the issues of defection, as you all know neither Amaechi nor Omegha raised issue of defection to another political party.”
“So, it is absolutely ridiculous and questionable, as it is shameful that a judge could decide a weighty matter such as conditions for sacking the Governor of a State without relying on any express provision of the Constitution or Electoral Act or judicial authority either of superior courts or even courts of coordinate jurisdiction.” 

Dambatta recalled that a State High Court sitting in Ebonyi State presided by Hon Justice  Henry Njoku (who is more Senior in Bench than Hon Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court 5 Abuja) had given judgment on the issues sought in this Ekwo Judgement).

He said, “The Governor of Zamfra State was recently given a clean bill of health in the matter for which this same issue of defection was sought to be determined.”
“In that case the Federal High Court, in its well-considered judgment stated that there is no provision in any law of the land or the Constitution of Nigeria that empowers any court in Nigeria to sack or tamper with the office of a siting Governor and or Deputy for the reason of defection to another political party.”

The party pointed out that the 1999 constitution as amended upholds the supremacy of right of association of person including defection from one political party to another.  

“The constitution of Nigeria upholds the supremacy of the right of association of persons (even to defect from one political party to the other). This is the prevailing position of the Supreme Court of Nigeria in the case of AG Fed & 2 ors v Alhaji Abubarkar & 3 ors ( SC 31/2007) (2007) NGSC 118, 20th April 2007,” he stated.

The APC chieftain explained further that, “The case interpreted the right of Freedom of Association to determine whether the action of a Vice President abandoning the political party whose platform he and the President were elected and joining another political party without resigning, amounts to constructive resignation from office, to warrant the seat of the Vice President to be declared vacant.”

While explaining further, he said, “the Supreme Court held that the Vice President (the President, the Governor, the Deputy Governor) can only vacate office pursuant to section 306 (resignation) or sections 143 & 144 of the Constitution of Nigeria which is parimateria with sections 188 & 189 of the same Constitution.”

In addition, he pointed out that, the Federal High Court sitting in Zamfra State had also relied on this judicial authority as the Law.
“In that case, the court recently held that Governor Bellow Matawallle violated no provision of the constitution of Nigeria and or PDP or APC’s constitution by his defection,” the party stated.


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