7th April, 2022
Justice Taiwo Taiwo of Federal High Court in Abuja, has refused to sack Governor Ben Ayade, for defecting from the PDP to the APC.
Although the judge chastised Ayade for the ‘immoral and improper move’, he refused to grant the prayer of the litigant, the Peoples Democratic Party.
Taiwo cited the decision of the Court of Appeal on 1 April for his decision.
The higher court had ruled the defection of a Governor and his Deputy is not an offence under the Nigerian Constitution. It is also not a ground to sack the governor.
Taiwo 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 they can only be removed from office on account of death, resignation or impeachment.
He said since defection is not one of the Constitutional provisions, no court has power to insert such into the Supreme Law.
On 21 March, Justice Taiwo had declared the seats of 20 lawmakers from Cross River vacant over their defection from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Affected were two House of Representatives members representing Cross River and 18 lawmakers from the state’s House of Assembly.
He dismissed the defence argument that the PDP (plaintiff) had no locus standi (legal rights) to institute the case.
Justice Taiwo ruled that the argument of the lawmakers that there was rancour in the PDP which necessitated their defection to APC was a ploy to mislead the court.
The lawmakers have filed an appeal.
The Ayade verdict was initially slated for 25 March, but it was rescheduled till today.
His court said the judgment was not ready then.
The PDP, through its counsel Emmanuel Ukala, SAN, had filed the suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/975/2021 before Justice Taiwo to seek for an order sacking the governor and his deputy over their defection to the All Progressives Congress (APC), among others.