JUST IN: INEC suspends action on court ruling sacking Umahi and deputy

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The Independent National Electoral Commission on Thursday said it won’t take any action on a court judgement sacking Dave Umahi as Governor of Ebonyi State over his defection from the Peoples Democratic Party to the All Progressives Congress in 2020.

The Commission made this known in a statement signed by its National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye.

INEC while stating it’s reasons said, 12 court processes have been received on the defection of Umahi; his deputy, Kelechi Igwe, and 16 members of the state House of Assembly. INEC, therefore, said it would stay action on the matter because of the “conflicting court judgements”

A Federal High Court in Abuja under the Lordship of Justice Inyang Ekwo in a landmark judgement sacked the governor, his deputy and state house of assembly lawmakers who defected from PDP to APC. The court also directed INEC to replace the elected officials with new names from the PDP.

Meanwhile, Umahi had approached the court to stop his removal but the suit was struck out. The court, however, handed over the case to the Appellate Court.

INEC in a statement on Thursday said, “It will be recalled that the Commission met on Thursday 17 March 2022 on the matter, decided to defer its deliberation on the Ebonyi cases and stepped down the listed Memorandum to enable its Legal Services and Clearance Committee to study the new processes served on it in the light of the previously served ones and advise the Commission comprehensively.

“Since then, the Commission has been served yet more Court Processes on the same matter, bringing the total to twelve. The Commission deliberated extensively on these cases and decided to further suspend action on the defection of the Governor and Deputy Governor of Ebonyi State and sixteen members of the State House of Assembly from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the light of the conflicting judgements and orders served on it from Courts of coordinate jurisdiction.

“The Commission also considers it prudent to stay action on the conflicting judgements and orders being aware of the pendency of Appeals and Motions for Stay of Execution of some of the judgements before various divisions of the Court of Appeal.”

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