[From CHINEDU NWAFOR, Abakaliki]
Legal Adviser to the All Progressives Congress (APC) Ebonyi State, Barrister I. Ukeni has faulted the judgement by the Federal High Court Abuja which sacked Governor David Umahi and his deputy, Dr Kelechi Igwe.
Mr Ukeni in a statement on Tuesday evening described the judgement as inconsequential, incongruous, unfounded.
According to him, there’s no provision in our constitution or any extant law wherein the defection from one party to another is unlawful or unconstitutional.
He said the Federal High Court Abuja lacks the jurisdiction to litigate or sit on the same subject matter which had been properly and adequately disposed of by Ebonyi State High Court as both are courts of coordinate or concurrent jurisdiction.
“The said judgement removing in office the executive governor of Ebonyi State and his Deputy including seventeen (17) Members of Ebonyi State House of Assembly all of APC is not in all fours with the provision of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) which guarantees freedom of association or belonging to or joining of any lawful assembly such as political party. See section 40 of the 1999 constitution (as amended).
“There’s no provision in our constitution or any extant law wherein the defection from one party to another is unlawful or unconstitutional. The law is settled that an abuse of court process is where the process of court has not been used bonafide and properly. See the case of BENKAY NIG. LTD V. CANDURY NIG. LTD (2012) 2 NWLR (Pt. 1306) 596 CS 99, as applicable in the extant case of the Federal High Court Abuja.
“Where a court of competent jurisdiction has delivered a judgement in a matter, the said judgement is valid and subsisting until set aside on appeal. That it’s worthy of note here that a hHgh Court of Ebonyi State has earlier on the 28th day of February, 2022 delivered judgement on the subject matter of the dictation of the executive governor of Ebonyi State, his Deputy and other government functionaries.
“We hold that Federal High Court Abuja lacks the jurisdiction to litigate or sit on the same subject matter which has been properly and adequately disposed off by Ebonyi State High Court as both are courts of coordinate or concurrent jurisdiction.
“We also hold that the processes and the later judgement of the Federal High Court Abuja delivered on the 8th day of February, 2022 is an abuse of court process as such dead on arrival as the legal team of All Progressives Congress (APC), Ebonyi State is set to appeal the inconsequential judgement. That the legal team of APC Ebonyi State reject in entirety the said judgement of the Federal High Court Abuja as same been in serious vagrancy or violation of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) and other extant laws of our country.
“It is worthy of note here that the incongruous judgement of the Federal High Court Abuja is capable of setting the polity into uncalled and unnecessary turmoil.
“The legal team holds that in the event of any likelihood of breakdown of law and order in Ebonyi State or any part of the country as a result of the kangaroo and the dastardly judgement, APC Ebonyi State will not be held responsible.
“We call on all Ebonyians and team supporters of David Nweze Umahi led people oriented government to remain calm, committed and law abiding as justice and victory for our great party APC, Ebonyi State in particular and Nigeria in general will prevail at last”, Ukeni said.