Umahi didn’t violate constitution by defecting to APC, court declares

Written by on March 1, 2022

A High Court sitting in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State, yesterday, ruled that Governor David Umahi did not violate any provision of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) or the Electoral Act by defecting to the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Dismissing a suit challenging his defection to APC, Presiding Judge, Justice Henry Njoku, stated that the plaintiff came through originating summons.

Representative of Ebonyi South Senatorial District between 2015 and 2019, Chief Sonni Ogbuoji, had approached the court seeking Umahi’s vacation of office as governor of the state, having defected from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the APC.

Ogbuoji also prayed the court to declare him governor of the state having emerged second in the 2019 gubernatorial election.

But Justice Njoku noted that although the plaintiff did not come through relevant rules of court to institute his originating summons, the court still went ahead to hear the matter of the propriety of Umahi’s defection from the PDP to APC in the interest of substantive justice.

He held that having regard to section 188 (1) of the 1999 Constitution, Umahi did not violate any provision of the Constitution or the Electoral Act by defecting to the APC.

The court further ruled that having regard to section 308 of the constitution, it was wrong to institute criminal or civil proceedings against the office of the governor.

It, therefore, dismissed the suit for lack of merit and awarded N500, 000 as damages against the plaintiff.

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