Tuesday, 8 March 2022

Sack : I Will Not Obey Court Order ..David Umahi



"I AM STILL THE GOVERNOR OF EBONYI STATE" -  UMAHI


~SAYS  JUDGEMENT ALLEGEDLY REMOVING HIM AND HIS DEPUTY FROM OFFICE DEFAULTS CONSTITUTIONAL PROVISIONS


Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State has disowned the judgment of the Justice of Justice Inyang Ekwo which allegedly ordered him and his Deputy to vacate their offices for defecting to the All Progressives Congress, APC, after being elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. 


Speaking with newsmen in his office at the Ochoudo Centenary City Abakaliki on Tuesday, Governor Umahi faulted the judgment saying it did not reflect the provision of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as it concerns conditions for removal of Governor and Deputy from office.


"In the first place, there is no constitutional provisions for any hatchet man to remove a  Governor.


"There are three ways whereby a Governor can vacate his seat, it is either by resignation, by death or by impeachment by the House of Assembly.


"There is no other Constitutional provision that empowers a hatchet man to turn the Constitution and the Law upside down.


"I have listened to the judgment of Ekwo and it is very obvious that he was on a mission, he was making all efforts to upturn the rulings of the Appeal Court and Supreme Court on issues like this.


"We have heard the rumours before now that he was determined to give judgment against all known laws and the constitution, first to embarrass APC, two to embarrass the Federal Government."


Governor Umahi decried the compromise of integrity by the Judge as reflected in the Judgement and called on the Judge to rescue himself from other cases concerning Ebonyi State under his adjudication.


"For me, I do not feel worried but I feel so sorry for the Judiciary, the Executive may have problems, the Legislature may have problems but the moment justice could be purchased, then this country is in trouble and the ruling this afternoon is a clear case that this country is in trouble.


"I want you to disregard the Judgement, it is null and void, there is a subsisting judgment in Zamfara State and there is also a judgment in Ebonyi State, so we have chosen the one to obey, we will not obey his ruling, we will obey the ruling of a competent Court of equal level that says you cannot sue a  Governor."


While calling on the Judiciary to look inwards and restore itself as the last hope of a common man, Governor Umahi noted that he remains the Governor of Ebonyi State by every account of the law.


"The sections of the Constitution is very clear, no Civil or Criminal proceedings could be brought against a sitting Governor, this is not a pre-election matter, this is not a tribunal matter, so he has murdered justice in this country and he will be remembered and his generations for this jungle justice which has no leg to stand, I am still the Governor of Ebonyi State and he has no powers to remove me.


"But let me say to the Nation that there is need to look at the integrity of our Judiciary because if the Judiciary begins to rule against Constitutional matters that are well laid down, then the Citizens of this Country may decide not to obey such judgment and this is very important.


"So I want you to relax, my office is still my office, he is wasting his time and I believe very strongly that he was influenced and we have no confidence in all the cases of Ebonyi State that he is handling and we are asking the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court to transfer all the cases.


"So I want all my supporters to laugh over it and know that it is Judiciary on trial.


Governor Umahi also maintained that the Government would appeal the Judgement to set the record straight for Democracy.


"Of course, we will file an appeal against the useless Judgement even though the Supreme Court had ruled in the case of Atiku that there is no law that empowers the President to be removed on account of defection which is the same qualification for Governor.


"So it is just a jungle justice that is purchased and we know where it is coming from.


In the case of seventeen House of Assembly Members whose seats were also allegedly declared vacant, Governor Umahi said Justice Ekwo lacked the powers to do so as had been proven by the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court.


"Even in the case of House of Assembly Members, the Supreme Court and Appeal Court have ruled, to set the seat of a member aside, it has to done by  the presiding officer of the House of Assembly or the National Assembly, so let me see the kind of judgment he is going to give also, he has been charged and he must discharge."


Francis Nwaze

Special Assistant to the Governor

(Media and Publicity)

March 8, 2022.


FEDERAL HIGH COURT DECISION ON DEFECTION OF GOVERNOR UMAHI CLEAR CASE OF TRAVESTY OF JUSTICE & JUDICIAL RECKLESSNESS, EFFECT IS DEAD ON ARRIVAL.


1. Our attention has been drawn to  the judgement made by Hon Justice Inyang  Ekwo of Court 5 of Federal High Court FCT, Abuja and the travesty of Justice occasioned by the recklessness of his  Judicial decision.


2. The crux of the matter is a  suit by People's Democratic Party,PDP seeking to sack the Governor of Ebonyi State ,His Excellency Engr Chief David Nweze Umahi FNSE FNATE (Akubaraoha) and his Deputy for  defecting to All Progressives Congress ( APC). The parties raised issues for determination which all bother on whether or not defection to another political party  from a party that elected the Governor or his Deputy amounts to a breach of any section (s) of the constitution or the Electoral Act that should warrant a Judicial interpretation, raising declaratory and or injunctive orders against the Governor of a State and or his Deputy.


.3. The Presiding Judge committed a glaring judicial error by giving judgement sacking a duly elected and sworn-in Governor and his Deputy without relying on or citing any provision(s) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria or any provision of the Electoral Act that  empowers the court to sack a sitting Governor and or his Deputy. This is purely a travesty of Justice.


4. The  Court failed, refused and or neglected to understand the clear difference between a Governorship  candidate of a Political Party as contemplated by the Electoral Act and a Governor of a State duly sworn in as contemplated by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.The Court presided by Hon. Justice Inyang Ekwo further went ahead to rely on the outdated authority of Amaechi v INEC( Omegha case) without exercising the Judicial power of Judicial distinction between pre-election/  electon matters and this matter of elected Governor defecting to another Political Party. He chose not to appreciate or he  lacked the understanding of the difference between a Governor of a State and Governorship candidate of a Political Party.  The Electoral Act and the judgement in Amaechi v INEC  contemplate who is the right candidate of the Party and not the issue of defection, as you all know neither Amaechi nor Omegha raised issue of defection to another Political Party. So it is absolutely rediculous and questionable, as it shameful that a judge could decide  a weighty matter such as conditions for sacking the Governor of a State without  relying on any express provision of the Constitution or Electoral Act or Judicial Authority either of superior courts or even courts of coordinate jurisdiction. 


5  It will be noted that  a State High Court sitting in Ebonyi State presided by Hon Justice  Henry Njoku ( who is more Senior in Bench  than Hon Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court 5 Abuja)  has given judgement on the issues sought in this Ekwo Judgement). The Governor of Zamfra State  was recently given a clean bill of health in the matter for which this same  issue of defection was sought to be determined. In that case the Federal High Court, in its well considered judgement stated that there is no provision in any law of the land or the Constitution of Nigeria that empowers any court in Nigeria to sack or tamper with the office of a  siting Governor and or Deputy for the reason of DEFECTION TO ANOTHER POLITICAL PARTY.


6. The constitution of Nigeria upholds the supremacy of the right of association of persons (even to defect from one political party to the other).  This is the prevailing position of the Supreme Court of Nigeria in the case of AG Fed & 2 ors v Alhaji Abubarkar & 3 ors ( SC 31/2007) (2007) NGSC 118, 20th April 2007. The case interpreted the right of FREEDOM OF ASSOCIATION to determine whether  the action of a Vice President abandoning the political party whose platform he and the President were elected and joining another Political Party without resigning, amounts to CONSTRUCTIVE RESIGNATION from office, to warrant the seat of the Vice President to be declared vacant.

The Supreme Court held that the Vice President ( the President , the Governor, the Deputy Governor) can  can only vacate office  pursuant to section  306( resignation)  or sections 143 & 144 of the Constitution of Nigeria which is parimateria with sections 188 & 189 of the same Constitution..


7. The Federal High Court sitting in Zamfra State has also relied on this Judicial Authority as the Law. In that case, the Court most recently held that Governor Bellow Matawallle VIOLATED NO   provision of the Constitution of Nigeria and or PDP or APC's constitution by his defection. 


8. We therefore urge the people of Ebonyi State, the associates and fans of the visionary Governor of Ebonyi State,His Excellency Engr Chief David Nweze Umahi FNSE FNATE (Akubaraoha) to go about their normal business and disregard the outcome of the Ekwo Judgement as being dead on arrival and having no iota of effect on the res of the matter as the Governor is sitting solidly and undistracted.


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