Defection: Court shifts judgment in suit seeking Ayade’s sack to April 6
A Federal High Court, Abuja, has shifted the judgment in a suit filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) against Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River to April 6.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) had, on March 22, reported that Justice Taiwo Taiwo fixed today, Friday, for the judgment.
NAN, however, gathered from Court 7, where Justice Taiwo presides, Friday morning that the judgment, which was earlier fixed for today has been put off because it was not ready.
The PDP, through its counsel Emmanuel Ukala, SAN, had filed the suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/975/2021 before Justice Taiwo to seek for an order sacking the governor and his deputy over their defection to the All Progressives Congress (APC), among others.
NAN reports that Taiwo had, on Monday, ordered two House of Representatives members representing Cross River and 18 lawmakers from the state’s House of Assembly to vacate their seats over their defection to APC.
The judge gave the order following a suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/971/2021 filed on Aug. 27, 2021, by the PDP to challenge the 20 lawmakers’ defection to APC, alongside the governor on May 20, 2021.
Justice Taiwo, in the judgment, dismissed the defence argument that the PDP (plaintiff) had no locus standi (legal rights) to institute the case.
He also dismissed other preliminary objections raised by the sacked lawmakers.
Taiwo ruled that the argument of the lawmakers that there was rancour in the PDP which necessitated their defection to APC was a ploy to mislead the court.
The judge, who granted all the reliefs sought by the PDP, held that it was disheartening that politicians in the country treat citizens as if they do not matter once they get into office.
“A day must surely come when elected officials, must either resign from their office or ask the people who voted for them before defecting to other political parties, instead of defecting to another party without recourse to the law and the citizens, ” he said.
According to him, we cannot continue in sin and expect grace to abound.
The affected two members of the House of Representatives from the state are Michael Etaba and Legor Idagbor.
The 18 state lawmakers include the Speaker, House of Assembly, Eteng Williams; Mich Etaba, Legor Idagbor, Joseph Bassey, Odey Agbe, and Okon Ephraim.
Others are Regina Anyogo, Matthew Olory, Ekpo Bassey, Ogbor Udop, Ekpe Okon, Hillary Bisong, Francis Asuquo, Elvert Ayambem, Davis Etta, Sunday Achunekan, Cynthia Nkasi, Edward Ajang, Chris Ogar, and Maria Akwaji.
While Mr Etaba represents Obubra/Etung Federal Constituency of Cross River, Mr Idagbor represents Obudu/Obaliku/Bekwarra Federal Constituency of the state.
A sister judge, Inyang Ekwo had, also, on March 8, sacked Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi and other lawmakers who defected alongside Umahi to APC.