Just in: Court strikes out application by Ebonyi Gov, Deputy to stay execution of sack verdict

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Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi

Justice Inyang Eden Ekwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja, on Monday, struck out an application by the embattled Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi, and his deputy, Kelechi Igwe, seeking to stop the execution of the judgment of the court that removed them from office on account of their unlawful defection.

The judge threw out the suit following confirmation that a valid appeal had been entered at the Court of Appeal, Abuja division, challenging the verdict that sacked them for defecting from the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to the All Progressives Congress, APC.

After several minutes of arguments by Chukwuma Machukwu Umeh, SAN, counsel to the governor and his deputy as well as Chief James Ogwu Onoja, SAN, for PDP, the attention of the court was adverted to the substantive appeal already pending at the Court of Appeal.

Umeh thereafter applied for withdrawal of the application to enable his clients to focus and concentrate on the substantive appeal.

The request was not opposed by the PDP counsel, prompting Justice Ekwo, in a brief ruling, to strike out the suit.

Justice Ekwo ordered Governor Umahi and his deputy to shift their legal battle against the judgment that sacked them to the appellate court.

A similar decision was reached in another application for stay if execution of judgment by the sacked 16 lawmakers of the Ebonyi State House of Assembly.

Umahi and his deputy had about two weeks ago asked the Federal High Court for an order staying the execution of its judgment that ordered their removal from office as governor and deputy governor of the state respectively.

In a motion on notice filed by their counsel, the governor and his deputy prayed the court for an order staying the execution of the orders made in the judgment delivered on March 8, 2022, directing the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to immediately receive from PDP the names of its candidates to replace them.

The court was also prayed to stay the execution of its order directing INEC to hold a governorship election in accordance with Section 177(c) of the 1999 Constitution.

The motion on notice dated March 9, 2022, equally sought an order staying the execution of the order of the court directing INEC to immediately declare the persons nominated by the PDP as governor and deputy governor of Ebonyi State respectively.

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