Home Court Gov Ben Ayade Saved By The Week: Court Postponed Defection Judgement To April 6th

Gov Ben Ayade Saved By The Week: Court Postponed Defection Judgement To April 6th

by Anita Ogona

A Federal High Court Sitting in Abuja The Federal Capital has postponed its judgement on the suit filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) seeking to declare the seat of the Cross River State Governor, Professor Ben Ayade, and his deputy, Ivara Esu, vacant.

The main opposition party filed the suit following the defection of the duo to the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC).

Justice Taiwo Taiwo, who initially fixed Friday to decide on the case, has now postponed the judgement in the suit until April 6.

Although the court did not adduce any reason why it postponed the verdict, it notified the parties about the new date through the cause list.

Justice Taiwo had in a judgement he delivered on Monday sacked 20 lawmakers from Cross River following their defection from the PDP to the APC.

The affected lawmakers comprised two members of the House federal lawmakers and 18 members of the Cross River State House of Assembly.

In its prayers, the PDP had asked the court to sack both Ayade and Esu, contending that the duo, having abandoned the political party that sponsored their re-election, ought to vacate their respective offices.

It also among others sought a declaration that votes at the election and other elections were won by political parties, and not the candidate or the candidates sponsored at the election by the political parties.

The main opposition party predicated its position on the provisions of Section 221 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), and the democratic system of governance operated in Nigeria.

It prayed the court to order the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to immediately receive the names of its candidates to replace Ayade and Esu, from it.

The party explained that this became necessary to utilise the lawful votes cast in favour of the plaintiff.

In the alternative, it asked the court to direct the first defendant (INEC) to hold a governorship election in Cross River State, in accordance with Section 177 of the Constitution.

The PDP, however, wants the third and fourth defendants (Ayada and Esu) to be excluded from the poll, stressing that they have been disqualified from participating in the election.

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