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Defection: Umahi downplays court ruling, banks on immunity

GOVERNOR of Ebonyi State, David Umahi, says he is not bothered by a Federal High Court judgement ordering that him and his deputy, Eric Igwe, to vacate their seats as governor and deputy respectively.

He argued that asides from the immutable fact that he enjoys immunity as an elected governor, votes secured during an election legally belong to the candidate and not a political party.

Umahi further stressed that the difference between himself and Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, whom he thanked for carrying out the hatchet job and likened to Judas Iscariot in the Bible, is their faith.

According to Ebonyi Governor, he serves only the living God while that of his Rivers counterpart (whose name he refused to out-rightly mention) might be based on alcohol.

The governor’s comments are in reaction to the judgement of a Federal High Court in Abuja, ordering his sack and that of his deputy, following their defection from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC).

In its judgment, the court maintained that the PDP won the election in March 2019 and not the candidates. It further held that having defected to the APC, Governor Umahi, and his deputy cannot transfer the mandate of the PDP to the opposition party.

Citing section 221 of the constitution, Justice Inyang Ekwo ordered the PDP to immediately send names of replacements to INEC so that fresh elections can be conducted, an order which the party has swiftly obeyed.

While Umahi has called on his supporters to remain calm after the Federal High Court order, PDP’s nominee for Governor of Ebonyi State, Iduma Igariwey, has asked incumbent Dave Umahi to vacate office without delay.

Igariwey, a member of the House of Representatives, urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to comply immediately with the court order and issue a certificate of return to him and his proposed deputy, Fred Udeogu.

He said he was concerned that a few days after the court order, Governor Umahi was still parading himself as governor when there is no stay of execution order.

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