Dethroned but defiant Gov Dave Umahi threatens to deal with High Court Judge Inyang Ekwo over his sack this morning.
The judge ruled that Umahi, his deputy and 17 House of Assembly members vacate their seats for jumping ship.
The affected persons abandoned their party (PDP) and embraced the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) on 17 November 2020.
Umahi promised that he will pursue efforts to punish the judge for the “embarrassment.”
“We have petitioned him to NJC and we will follow it up to the end to ensure that this man (Ekwo) is brought to justice.
“I want you to disregard the judgement, because it’s null and void.”
An embittered Umahi accused the judge of being “on a mission,” implying also that the judgement may have been “purchased.”
“I am still the Governor of Ebonyi State and there is no tension at all,” he boasted.
‘He cannot sack a governor’
Umahi described the judge as a “hatchet man” because there is no constitutional provision that justified the decision.
“In the first place, there is no constitutional provision for any hachet man to remove a governor.
“There are three ways whereby a governor can vacate his office: it’s either by death, resignation and impeachment.
“There is no other constitutional provision that empowers a hachet man to turn the Constitution upside down.
“I have listened to the judgement of Inyang Ekwo and it’s very obvious that he was on a mission.
“He was making all effort to upturn the rulings of the appeal and supreme Courts, on issues like this.
Gov Umahi accused the judge of political bias against the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
He also said the judge was out to embarrass the federal government.
Justice Ekwo however said this morning that the ruling was based on the Constitution.
He specifically quoted Section 109(1) (g) of the 1999 Constitution which forbids defection when there is no crisis in a party.
The Section was “purposely couched to ensure that defectors were not allowed to retain their seat … unless such defectors are able to justify their action.”
The judge said the defendants cannot legally transfer the votes they obtained from one party to another party after jumping ship.
According to him, the defendants won elections on the platform of the PDP, and could not justify their defection when there was no division in the PDP.
The judge also said that the winning votes scored by the Governor belonged to the PDP and not to the candidate.
Having defected to the APC, Umahi and his deputy not only jettisoned the PDP, but also the votes that brought them to power.
“There is no constitutional provision that made the ballot transferrable from one party to the other”.
Umahi focuses on judge
“We have heard the rumours before now that he was determined to give judgement against all known laws and the Constitution, first to embarrass the APC, and to equally embarrass the federal government.
“For me, I do not feel worried; but, I feel so bad for the judiciary in Nigeria.
“The executive may have problems. The legislature may have problems. But the moment justice could be purchased, then we are in trouble in Nigeria.
“It’s obvious that the ruling this afternoon is a clear evidence that this country is trouble.
“And let me tell you, this same judge, has over ten cases against the Ebonyi State Government with him.
“And you can imagine what he is going to rule.”
Umahi threatens Judge Ekwo over his sack