The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has revealed why it is yet to take a decision on the sacking of David Umahi, governor of Ebonyi, and Eric Igwe, his deputy.
The commission stated the reasons on Thursday in a statement signed by Festus Okoye, its national commissioner and chairman, information and voter education committee.
Recall that a federal high court sitting in Abuja had ordered the removal of Umahi, Igwe, and 16 members of the state house of assembly over their defection from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Inyang Ekwo, the judge, held that the 393,042 votes polled by Umahi in the March 2019 governorship election belonged to the PDP and cannot be legally transferred to the APC.
The commission, in its statement, said it was briefed by its litigation and prosecution department that in the last three months, it had been joined in 71 new cases in various courts across the country.
“Most of these cases, including the widely discussed one on Ebonyi State, involve either intra-party issues or litigants seeking for various reliefs from the Courts that entail consequential orders that are binding on the Commission,” the statement reads.
“The Commission today listed this matter for deliberation. It involves Court cases on the defection of the Governor and Deputy-Governor of Ebonyi State and sixteen members of the State House of Assembly from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
“The Commission has been served with nine separate Orders and Motions from various Courts on this matter. Just as the Commission was about to commence deliberation on them, its attention was drawn to additional Court processes served today in respect of the matter.”
INEC said it has decided to defer its deliberation on the Ebonyi cases and “stepped down the listed Memorandum to enable its Legal Services and Clearance Committee to study the new processes in the light of the previously served ones and advise the Commission comprehensively”.
“The Commission will meet again next week to deliberate on the matter and thereafter make its decision public,” the statement said.