JUSTICE Taiwo Taiwo of a Federal High Court in Abuja on Friday fixed April 6, 2022, to deliver judgment in a suit seeking the sack of Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State and his deputy, Ivara Esu, over their defection from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC).

The judge, who had earlier slated March 25, 2022 to deliver the judgment, adjourned his verdict till April 6, 2022.

The PDD had, through its counsel, Emmanuel Ukala (SAN), filed the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/975/2021 seeking an order sacking the governor and his deputy over their defection from the party to the APC.

The party wants the court to order the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to immediately receive the name of its candidates to  replace Ayade and Esu for the purpose of utilising the lawful votes cast in favour of the plaintiff, “or in the alternative direct the first defendant to hold a gubernatorial election for Cross River State in accordance with Section 177 of the constitution excluding the third and fourth defendants who are disqualified from participating in the election by virtue of Section 192 (1) (b) of the constitution) arising from the abandonment of the majority lawful votes and the offices.”

Justice Taiwo had, on Monday, ordered two House of Representatives members from Cross River State and 18 lawmakers from the state’s House of Assembly to vacate their seats over their defection to the APC.

The judge gave the order following a suit marked FHC/ ABJ/CS/971/2021 filed on August 27, 2021, by the PDP to challenge the 20 lawmakers’ defection, alongside the governor, to the APC, on May 20, 2021.

Justice Taiwo, in the judgment, dismissed the defence argument that the PDP (plaintiff) had no locus standi (legal rights) to institute the legal action.

He also dismissed other preliminary objections raised by the sacked lawmakers and added that the argument of the lawmakers that there was rancour in the PDP which necessitated their defection to the APC was a ploy to mislead the court.

 

The judge, who granted all the reliefs sought by the PDP, held that it was disheartening that politicians in the country treat citizens as if they do not matter once they get into office.

“A day must surely come when elected officials must either resign from their office or ask the people who voted for them before defecting to other political parties, instead of defecting to another party without recourse to the law and the citizens,” he said.

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