Governor Dave Umahi’s defection to the All Progressives Congress (APC) would be contested again by the Peoples Democratic Party in March. This is so as the federal high court in Abuja has fixed Tuesday, March 8 and Monday, March 14 to deliver judgments in the multiple suits filed by the PDP seeking the removal of Umahi from office as governor of Ebonyi State. The opposition party is also seeking the sack of Kelechi Igwe, deputy governor, from office on account of their defection to the APC. Umahi left the PDP in November 2020 attributing the action to the injustice done to the south-east.
Inyang Ekwo, the judge, fixed the dates after counsel in the suits marked FHC/ABJ/CS/ 920/21 and FHC/ABJ/CS/ 1041/21 had adopted their briefs of arguments for and against the suit.However, in their preliminary objection, the governor and his deputy through their lawyer, Chukwuma-Machukwu Ume, contested the jurisdiction of the court to hear the matter. Ume argued that since Umahi was sworn-in by the chief judge of Ebonyi State and not by the chief judge of the federal high court, his removal from office can only be pursued through the state house of assembly and the state high court.
Other defendants in the suit are the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the APC. Umahi and his deputy have approached the Abuja court of appeal seeking interpretation of some constitutional issues arising from the suit filed by the PDP. The applicants in their motion have requested the appellate court to restore the powers of state high courts as the only courts vested with the exclusive jurisdiction to hear and determine the question as to whether the term of office of a member of the house of assembly of a state, a governor or deputy governor has ceased or become vacant.