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Maintain status quo in Ebonyi, HURIWA tells Umahi

By Ernest Nzor, Abuja
16 March 2022   |   3:54 am
The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), has asked the Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi, his deputy, Eric Igwe and members of the House of Assembly, to maintain the status quo and await the Appeal Court, Abuja ruling.

Gov. Dave Umahi of Ebonyi

The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), has asked the Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi, his deputy, Eric Igwe and members of the House of Assembly, to maintain the status quo and await the Appeal Court, Abuja ruling.

In a statement issued, yesterday, in Abuja, by its National Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko, the group also said Umahi, Igwe and the lawmakers were constitutionally entitled to challenge the verdict that sacked them due to their defection from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC) in December 2020.

The group urged the PDP to quit unnecessary propaganda and stop attempting to coerce the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to bringing in its candidate and cautioned against stampeding the justices of the Court of Appeal or Supreme Court to reach a determination guided by sentiments and emotions.

It said the matter required that the justices should not be unduly influenced or misguided by coordinated media bombardments. He said: “What the governor has set out to do is to test the viability of the constitutional concept of due process. All parties must maintain status quo ante bellum till the ruling of the Appeal Court”.

He recalled that Umahi had, in the aftermath of the judgment last Tuesday, faulted the verdict and vowed to go on appeal. This is even as the Ebonyi State government, described the development as “an attempt to heat up the polity.”

Umahi and his deputy, led by their counsel, Chukwuma Ume (SAN) in their eight-point appeal, maintained that Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja, erred in his judgment and caused a grave miscarriage of justice against them.

They argued that the trial court, in ordering them to vacate their offices, based on the suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/920/2021 attempted to overrule a subsisting decision of the Supreme Court in the Attorney General of the Federation v. Atiku Abubakar and three others (2007) LCN/3799 (SC).

They contended that the apex court had in its decision, held that no constitutional provision prohibited a sitting president or vice president, and invariably, governor or deputy governor, from defecting to another political party.

“The right of appeal is what Umahi and his deputy have approached the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal to set aside the judgment that sacked them from office for defecting from the PDP to APC.”