By Uche Amunike
Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Abuja High Court, Monday, rejected the application by the embattled Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi and his Deputy, Kelechi Igwe demanding that the court stops the execution of the judgement that sacked them from office for unlawfully defecting from their party to the APC.
Justice Ekwo struck out the suit after he confirmed that there was already a valid appeal entered at the Abuja division of the court of appeal which challenged the verdict that sacked them for their defection from the PDP to the APC.
After the submissions made by counsel to Umahi and Igwe, Chukwuma Machukwu Umeh (SAN) and counsel to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief James Ogwu Onoja, the court came to the realization that there was already a substantive appeal pending at the appellate court.
This made Umeh withdraw the application in order to enable his clients focus on the substantive appeal. This was also in agreement with the PDP counsel, leaving Justice Ekwo with no choice than to strike out the suit in a brief ruling.
Ekwo ordered the Ebonyi State Governor and his Deputy to take the legal battle against the judgement that sacked them to the appellate court. Note that a similar ruling was given in another application for judgement stay by the sacked 16 legislators of the Ebonyi State House of Assembly.
Recall that two weeks prior, the Ebonyi State Governor and his Deputy demanded that a federal high Court should order stay of execution of its judgement that ordered that they both be removed from office.
Their counsel filed a motion on notice, asking the court for an order staying the execution of the orders made on the March 8 judgement directing the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to promptly receive the names of candidates from the PDP to replace them.
They also asked the court to stay the execution of its order that directed INEC to conduct a governorship election in accordance with section 177 (c) of Ice 1999 Constitution.
The motion on notice which was dated March 9 2022 also sought an order staying execution of the court order directing INEC to promptly declare the candidates nominated by the PDP as Governor and Deputy Governor of Ebonyi State, respectively.
The PDP made this call, shortly after the Abuja Federal High Court issued the order refusing to grant the stay of execution to Umahi and Igwe over their removal from office by the court.
This was announced by the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Debo Ologunagba in a statement which he titled, ‘Ebonyi: Issue Certificate of Return to Igariwe, Udogwu now, PDP Charges INEC’.
Part of the statement read: ‘INEC, pursuant to the provision of Section 287(3) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) which provides that ‘the decisions of the Federal High Court, National Industrial Court, a High Court and of all other courts established by this Constitution shall be enforced in any part of the Federation by all authorities and persons, and by other courts of law with subordinate jurisdiction to that of the Federal High Court, National Industrial Court, a High Court, and those other courts, respectively’ is bound to issue Certificates of Return immediately to Iduma Igariwe and Fred Udogwu as Governor and Deputy Governor of Ebonyi State respectively.
The PDP maintained that it was a necessary step to prevent having a vacuum in the government and governance of the state as Umahi and his Deputy, Igwe’s application for stay of execution have been refused by the Federal High Court.