The Independent National Electoral Commission has urged the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja not to sack Cross River governor, Ben Ayade, over his defection from the People’s Democratic Party to the All Progressive Congress.
The commission also asked the court to ‘bow to appeal court decision On umahi’, Ebonyi state governor.
Today was scheduled for judgement in a suit by the PDP challenging the defection of Ayade and his deputy governor to the APC.
But Justice Taiwo Taiwo told the court on Wednesday that he would have given his judgement but for the Court of Appeal decision in Enugu regarding the defection of Ebonyi governor, Dave Umahi.
He then directed counsel to the parties to address him on the Court of Appeal’s decision in Enugu which struck out an application by an APC aspirant, against the defection of Ebonyi Governor to the APC.
PDP counsel, Emmanuel Ukala SAN, contended that the reliefs in the appellate court in Enugu was different from their case before him.
He contended that PDP cannot be bound by a judgement that it was not a party to.
He accused the APC of hurriedly arranging the case at the appellate court.
But INEC counsel, A. Onyeri, told the judge that what the PDP is asking has been addressed in the Enugu Appeal Court judgement.
He said, “It is true that INEC the first defendant, is a neutral body, but as a commission, our understanding is that this case is similar to the judgment and subject matter of the court of Appeal judgement on Umahi. “
He cited the judgement, reading , “Defection of an elected officer is not novel in judiciary precedence.”
He added that constitutionally an executive officer should not vacate his seat on account of defection or cross carpeting.
“We ask my lord to bow to the doctrine of stairi decisis (judiciary precedence),” he said.
Ayade’s counsel Mike Ozekhome SAN is currently defending his client as of the time of this report.