The Ebonyi State Governor, David Nweze Umahi and his Deputy, Kelechi Igwe, have left the State People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the lurch as they have finally secured an interim order to remain in their offices from the Ebonyi State High Court.
The embattled governor and his deputy secured the order following an ex-parte motion by their counsel, Roy Umahi brought in accordance to rule 3(3) of the High Court rules of Ebonyi state in suit no HAB/13/22.
It was ruled by the Court on February 28, 2022, that Umahi and his deputy have not broken any law by decamping from the PDP to the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC).
Justice Henry Njoku of the High Court ruled that the matter lacked merit and ordered N500, 000 fine for the prosecutor, Sunny Ogbuoji, who was the runner up and the APC candidate in the 2019 governorship election.
Subsequently, an Abuja Federal High Court, however, delivered a verdict on March 8, 2022, on a similar case filed by the PDP, ordering the Governor and his Deputy to vacate their seats.
Justice Inyang Ekwo, the presiding Judge further ruled that the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, should accept new nominations for the two positions from the opposition PDP and issue them with certificates of return for them to be sworn in as the new Governor and Deputy of the state.
However, Gov. Umahi and his Deputy the Court order, arguing that the Ebonyi High Court ruling should take precedence.
To secure an interim order that will keep them in office, Umahi and Igwe approached the same Ebonyi High Court yesterday, seeking the court to affirm that its earlier judgement of the 28th February 2022 on their defection to APC remains valid and should have precedence over any other contrary judgement and should be binding on all parties, persons and authorities.
Their prayer to the court, however, was granted by Justice Henry Njoku in his ruling and adjourned the matter to March 16 for a hearing on the motion on notice. In his ruling:
“It is hereby ordered as follows, an interim order of this honourable court for seven days(subject to renewal) is hereby granted in view of the judgement in suit no. HAB/13/22 delivered on the 28th day of February 2022, being a judgement in rem and having precedence over any contrary judgement.
“The applicants hereto Engr David Nweze Umahi and Dr Eric Kelechi Igwe shall accordingly remain and not be removed from office as governor and deputy governor of Ebonyi state respectively”
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