It is a profound victory for Governor Dave Umahi and his deputy, Dr. Eric Kelechi Igwe on Friday, as the Court of Appeal sitting in Enugu, dismissed the suit filed against them by Senator Sonni Ogbuoji and his running mate, Chief Justin Ogbodo Mbam, on the grounds that they both defected to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2019, from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)
Ebonyi State Deputy Gov. Eric Igwe
According to the Appeal Court, Umahi and Igwe did not offend any provision of the constitution or the Electoral Act with their defection as there is “no consequence under the law against the defection of the holder of the office of the president, vice president, governor or deputy governor, to another political party from the party that sponsored the election that brought him or her to office.” (The Vanguard)
The Court however upheld that, although the defection of a political office holder to another, may appear immoral, but that it is not the duty of the court to embark on such investigation or probe into the provisions of the laws.
The Court’s judgement unanimously delivered by a three-man panel, led by Justice J.O. K Oyowole, therefore warned against “judicial activism”which if not curbed, may turn into “judicial rascality.”
The Court further explained that, there was no provision in sections 180, 188 or 189 of the 1999 constitution as amended, that “empowered the Court to remove either a seating governor or the deputy from office;” adding that, “defection of an office holder is not novel to Nigeria’s judicial jurisprudence” alone.
Based on the aforementioned, the Court, then dismissed the suit filed against the Ebonyi state governor and his deputy.