A High Court in Ebonyi has issued a new order to Governor David Umahi and his deputy, Dr Kelechi Igwe.
The court ordered that the two should remain in office for seven days pending the hearing on a motion filed by Senator Soni Ogbuoji, Justin Mbam Ogodo and the All Progressive Congress (APC).
This is coming just two days after a Federal Hight Court in Abuja delivered a judgment sacking Ebonyi State governor, Dave Umahi, his deputy, Kelechi Igwe and 16 state lawmakers over their defection to the All Progressives Congress (APC) from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)
The interim order which was granted by Justice H. A. Njoku on Thursday stated that the duo (applicants) shall remain and not be removed from office as governor and deputy governor of the state, respectively.
Justice Njoku had on February 28, 2022, ruled in favour of Umahi in a suit filed by the governorship candidate, Sen. Sonny Ogbuorji of All Progressives Congress in the 2019 elections.
“Motion Ex-parte dated and filled on 9th March 2022 and brought pursuant to order 39 rule 3(3) of the high court rule of Ebonyi state, 2008 and under the inherent jurisdiction of the honourable court coming before His Leadership, Justice Henry Njoku on 10th March 2022 praying the court as follow.”
“An Interim order of the court for seven days (subject to renewal) that in view of its judgement in suit No.HAB/13/2022 delivered on 28th February 2022 being a judgement in rem and having procedure over any subsequent contrary judgement.
“The applicants Engr. David Umahi and Dr Eric Kelechi Igwe shall remain and not removed from office as governor and deputy governor of the state, respectively”, the motion read in part.
Similarly, Umahi and Igwe have also asked a Federal High Court for an order to stay the execution of its judgment, directing them to vacate their offices over defection.
In a motion on notice filed by their counsel, Chukwuma Ma-Chukwu Ume (SAN), the applicants further 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 the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP), the names of its candidates to replace them.
The PDP also wants the court to stay the execution of its order directing INEC to hold a governorship election in accordance with section 177(c) of the 1999 Constitution.
In addition, the motion on notice dated March 9, 2022, is equally seeking 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.
The motion which was brought pursuant to order 26 rules 1 and 2(1) and order 32 rules 1 and 4(1) of the Federal High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules 2019, is predicated on eight grounds.
Governor Umahi, his deputy and the 16 members of the state legislature, who were on Tuesday removed from their offices by the court for defecting to the APC, are further contending that they have since appealed the orders of the court.