Judiciary News

Justice Taiwo Postpone Judgement On Ayade Defection To April 7

Justice Taiwo Taiwo of a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has postponed judgment on a suit by the Peoples Democratic Party against Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River state and his deputy Prof. Ivara Ejemot Esu.

The plaintiff wants the court to order Governor Ayade and his deputy to vacate office having defected from the Peoples Democratic Party to the All Progressives Congress.

PDP suit is based on the fact that Senator Ayade and his deputy, presently members of the APC, did not win the March 9, 2019 Governorship election in Cross River State.

Wednesday’s proceeding was for judgment on the case.

However, as lawyers and supporters of both parties waited patiently, the trial judge announced that lead counsel in the matter should address the court on the implication of the recent judgment of the Court of Appeal, Enugu Division, in respect of the defection of Governor David Umahi and his deputy from the PDP to APC.

The court fixed tomorrow April 7, for judgment after Emmanuel Ukala SAN, counsel to PDP and Mike Ozekhome SAN, representing APC had addressed the court on the judgement of the Enugu Division of the Court of Appeal on defection of Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi state.

Addressing the court, Ukala insisted that the subject matter, issues raised for determination, interpretation of certain provisions of the Constitution in the cases of Umahi and Ayade were completely different.

Ukala said the prayers of Umahi at the Abakiliki High Court were different from what the PDP are seeking at the Federal High Court Abuja.

On his part, Ozekhome, told the court that the case decided at the Court of Appeal, Enugu Division is same with the instant case at the Federal High Court Abuja.

Ozekhome pointed out that reliefs 12 and 13 in Ayade’s case are same with reliefs 2 of Umahi’s case in Enugu.

“The entire case boils down to defection and the issue is whether a Governor and his deputy after being sworn in can be removed from office, the APC lawyer submitted.

Ozekhome posited that considering the principle of stare decisis, the trial court is bound by law to follow the precedence set by the appellate court, Enugu.

The APC lawyer contended that though defection according to the court of appeal is improper, immoral “but it is not illegal”.

Ozekhome also cited the Supreme Court judgment in the case of Atiku and Obasanjo when the former Vice President defected from the PDP to Action Congress of Nigeria, which went in favour of Atiku.

A governor or deputy who defected cannot be removed from office by the court except the House of Assembly.

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