Barristers & Solicitors
Appeal Court reverses Umahi, deputy’s sack
Ebonyi State governor


The Court of Appeal in Abuja has reversed the March 8 judgment by Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja sacking Ebonyi Governor, David Umahi and his deputy for defecting from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC). A three-member panel of the appellate court held in a judgment on Friday that the nation’s constitution did not provide any punishment for a Governor or Deputy Governor who defected from the party on which platform he/she got to office.

Justice Ekwo had in March said their defection to the APC from the PDP was unconstitutional. It was the opinion of the court that the “Immunity Clause” in section 308 of the Constitution is not absolute. “Section 308 is a veritable constitutional shield,” the court said, adding that it was not inserted for political reasons. The judgment followed suits marked FHC/ABJ/CS/ 920/21 and FHC/ABJ/CS/ 1041/21, filed by the PDP seeking the removal of the governor and his deputy from office for abandoning the party.

But In the lead judgment of the Court of Appeal, Justice Haruna Tsanami, the appellate court held that the only option opened to a political party, aggrieved by the defection of a Governor or Deputy Governor, is to explore the impeachment option provided in the constitution. The Court of Appeal in Abuja aligned with an earlier decision on the same issue given by the court’s Enugu division.