On Thursday, the Independent National Electoral Commission announced it will not act on a court order removing Dave Umahi as governor of Ebonyi State for defecting from the Peoples Democratic Party to the All Progressives Congress in 2020.
Festus Okoye, the Commission’s National Commissioner and Chairman of the Information and Voter Education Committee, announced the announcement in a statement.
The election umpire has received 12 court processes about Umahi’s defection, as well as that of his deputy, Kelechi Igwe, and 16 members of the state House of Assembly. As a result of the “conflicting court judgments,” INEC has decided to put the matter on hold.
According to Anaedoonline.ng, the governor, his deputy, and lawmakers were dismissed from office by a Federal High Court in Abuja due to their defection from the PDP to the APC. In addition, the court ordered INEC to replace the elected officials with new PDP candidates.
Umahi had filed a lawsuit in court to prevent his deportation, but it was dismissed. The matter was, however, referred to the Appellate Court.
In its statement late Thursday, INEC said, “It will be recalled that the Commission met on Thursday 17 March 2022 on the matter, decided to defer its deliberation on the Ebonyi cases and stepped down the listed Memorandum to enable its Legal Services and Clearance Committee to study the new processes served on it in the light of the previously served ones and advise the Commission comprehensively.
“Since then, the Commission has been served yet more Court Processes on the same matter, bringing the total to twelve. The Commission deliberated extensively on these cases and decided to further suspend action on the defection of the Governor and Deputy Governor of Ebonyi State and sixteen members of the State House of Assembly from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the light of the conflicting judgements and orders served on it from Courts of coordinate jurisdiction.
“The Commission also considers it prudent to stay action on the conflicting judgements and orders being aware of the pendency of Appeals and Motions for Stay of Execution of some of the judgements before various divisions of the Court of Appeal.”
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