Court Decision On Umahi, Igwe: Clarke, Ozekhome Fault Judgement

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Court Decision On Umahi, Igwe: Clarke, Ozekhome Fault Judgement
Mike Ozekhome, SAN

Two prominent Nigerian lawyers, Robert Clarke, SAN, and Mike Ozekhome, SAN, have faulted the judgement of the Federal High Abuja, sacking the Governor of Ebonyi State, Engr. David Umahi and his deputy, Dr. Kelechi Igwe for defecting to the All Progressives Congress, APC.

The Abuja Federal High Court, presided over by Justice Inyang Ekwo, had on Tuesday, declared the movement of the Governor and his deputy to the APC as illegal and unconstitutional.

The judge held that Umahi having won election on the platform of the PDP cannot transfer the victory to the APC.

Court Decision On Umahi, Igwe: Clarke, Ozekhome Fault Judgement
Robert Clarke, SAN

In an interview with Arise Television on Wednesday, Robert Clarke, SAN, faulted the judgement, stressing that the Constitution allows a human being and not a legal being to contest an election.

He maintained that the PDP, being a legal being and not a human being cannot stand for an election, and therefore the victory of Umahi during the election belonged to him.

Clarke pointed out that it was the duty of political parties to sponsor candidates for elections and not for political parties to stand for elections.

Clarke said:

“A political party is a legal being while a candidate at election is a human being. The election only permits a human being to contest in an election and not a legal being.

“It is wrong for any judge to say that when an election is held, the total votes cast for a candidate was from his political party.”

He said the Constitution of Nigeria gave specific conditions under which a Governor could be removed from office which does not include defection to another political party.

” No judge has to infer anything in the Constitution that is not contained in the Constitution “, he added.

Court Decision On Umahi, Igwe: Clarke, Ozekhome Fault Judgement
Mike Ozekhome, SAN

Chief Ozekhome, had, in his widely circulated publication on the judgement of the Abuja Federal High Court, expressed his reservations that the judgement would not stand judicial tests.

He said:

“I am of the firm belief that the judgment, shredded of all legal and factual details, cannot stand the acid test of constitutionalism, nor pass the furnace of appellate courts scrutiny. This is because the tenure of office of a Governor and his Deputy are constitutional matters.

“The 1999 Constitution does not provide that the President or Vice-President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria shall be removed or is removable from that office if he defects from the political party on whose platform he was elected to that office and joins another political party.”

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