Home Features Mixed reactions trail Umahi’s sack

Mixed reactions trail Umahi’s sack

by News Echo
4 minutes read

APC knock trial Judge, PDP laud court ruling
As NBA berates sacked governor’s offensive comments on Judge

The recent ruling by a Federal High sitting Abuja, presided over by Justice Iyang Ekwo, sacking David Umahi and Eric Kelechi Igwe, as governor and deputy governor of Ebonyi state, has generated mixed bag of reactions with the All Progressives Congress (APC) describing the judgement as “reckless”.
In a statement, Salisu Na’inna Dambatta, APC director of publicity, said the judge committed a “glaring judicial error” by ordering Umahi’s sack without relying on any provision of the constitution.

Dambatta said the judge did not understand the difference between governorship candidate of a political party as contemplated by the electoral act and duly-elected governor.
According to him, the court relied on an “outdated” Supreme Court case of Rotimi Amaechi and Celestine Omehia.
“The presiding judge committed a glaring judicial error by giving judgement sacking a duly elected and sworn-in governor and his deputy without relying on or citing any provision(s) of the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria or any provision of the electoral act that empowers the court to sack a sitting governor and or his deputy,” the media director said.

“This is purely a travesty of Justice.
“It is absolutely ridiculous and questionable, as it is shameful that a judge could decide a weighty matter such as conditions for sacking the governor of a state without relying on any express provision of the constitution or electoral act or judicial authority either of superior courts or even courts of coordinate jurisdiction.
“The constitution of Nigeria upholds the supremacy of the right of association of persons (even to defect from one political party to the other).”
Dambatta asked Ebonyi residents to disregard the verdict because it is “dead on arrival”.
However, the sacked governor and his deputy have rejected the court judgment, describing it as a mockery of justice. Though the duo have reported filed an appeal with the Appellant court.

Umahi insisted he is still the governor of Ebonyi State, stressing that no criminal or civil proceedings can be brought against him as a sitting governor.
He told journalists in Abakaliki, the state capital: “There is nothing to worry about at all. In the first place, there is no Constitutional provision for any hatchet man to remove a governor. There are three ways whereby a governor can vacate his seat: either by death, resignation or impeachment through the House of Assembly. There is no any other Constitutional provision that empowers a hatchet man to turn the Constitution and the law upside down.”
“I have listened to the judgment of Ekwo and it is very obvious that he was on a mission. He was making all efforts to upturn the rulings of the Supreme Court and Appeal Court on issues like this.

“We heard the rumours before now, that he was determined to give judgment against all known laws and the Constitution, first to embarrass APC, secondly, to embarrass the Federal Government.
“For me, I do not feel worried. But I feel so sorry for the judiciary. The executive may have problems. The legislature may have problems. But the moment justice can be purchased, then we are in trouble in this country. The ruling, this afternoon, is clear evidence that this country is in trouble.

On the other hand, the Southeast chapter of the PDP has described the ouster of Umahi as victory for democracy. National Vice Chairman of the party, Dr. Ali Odefa said: “God used the PDP to make Umahi governor and God can also use us to remove him. It is victory for democracy. He ran away with our mandate, a mandate that was freely given to him. We are happy that the court has seen reasons with us and has done the right thing.”

“In a democracy, it is the will of the people that triumph not force. He cannot jettison our party with our mandate and want to enjoy it.”
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), has described the sacked governor Umahi’s vituperations against Justice Ekwo as “national embarrassment”. In a statement issued on Wednesday by its President, Olumide Akpata, said Governor Umahi’s attack on Justice Ekwo was unfortunate and unacceptable.
Mr Akpata said Mr Umahi’s language against the judgment and the judge was “intemperate”.

The Association said the governor, “arrogated to himself the judicial powers and magisterial authority to declare the judgment of a court of competent jurisdiction as null and void while unashamedly declaring his intention to disregard in favour of another.
“To put it plainly, this is impunity of the highest order and executive rascality taken too far.”
Mr Akpata said the NBA does not have interest in the outcome of the Ebonyi case, but that the association would not sit back and watch governor Umahi attack the judiciary.
He said the governor’s attack on the judge is a “national embarrassment”.

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