DEFECTION: Federal high court dismisses suit to declare Ayade’s seat vacant

A federal high court in Abuja has dismissed a suit seeking the removal of Ben Ayade as Cross River governor.

The PDP had taken Ayade to court to seek an order directing him and his deputy, Ivara Esu, to vacate office over their defection to the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Ayade was elected on the platform of the PDP in 2015 and 2019, but defected to the APC on May 20, 2021, along with his deputy.

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In the suit, the PDP prayed the court for “a declaration that in view of 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, votes at the election and elections are won by political parties and not their candidate or the candidates sponsored at the election by the political parties.”

Delivering his judgment on Thursday, Taiwo Taiwo, the presiding judge, held that defection is not an offence in the Nigerian constitution.

The judge cited the recent Enugu court of appeal judgement which refused to sack David Umahi as Ebonyi state governor.

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