A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, has dismissed the case filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) against Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State for defecting to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Presiding Judge, Hon. Justice Taiwo Taiwo, held that defection was not one of the grounds stated in the Constitution for removing a Governor and his Deputy from office.
Hon. Justice Taiwo also held that Governors and their Deputies can only be removed from office in line with sections 180, 188 and 189 of the constitution which stipulated that elective office holders can only be removed from office on account of death, resignation or impeachment.
‘’The point must be made that it is not the duty of the court to make law. If a gap is disclosed, the remedy lies in amending the Act”.
“This court has no power to declare vacant the seat of the Governor and Deputy, ” Justice Taiwo said.
Earlier, Justice Taiwo directed the lead counsel to the PDP, Emmanuel Ukala (SAN), to address the court on the position of the recent judgment of the Court of Appeal, Enugu Division in respect of Governor David Umahi and his Deputy’s defection from the PDP to APC.
Ukala (SAN), argued that the subject matter, issues raised for determination, interpretation of certain provisions of the constitution in the cases of Umahi and Ayade were not the same because, Umahi’s prayers at the Abakaliki High Court were different from what the PDP were seeking at the Federal High Court in Abuja.
In his reply, Counsel to APC, Mike Ozekhome (SAN), submitted that the case decided at the Court of Appeal, Enugu Division was same with the instant case at the Federal High Court in Abuja, emphasizing that reliefs 12 and 13 in Ayade’s case are same with reliefs two of Umahi’s case in Enugu.
“The entire case boils down to defection and the issue is whether a Governor and his Deputy after being sworn in can be removed from office,’’ Ozekhome (SAN), submitted.