A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, has dismissed the suit the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, filed to declare the seat of Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State and his Deputy, Ivara Esu, vacant, following their defection to the All Progressives Congress, APC.
Delivering judgment, the judge, Justice Taiwo Taiwo, held that both of them could not be sacked from their positions, other than through statutory procedures that were stipulated in sections 180, 188 and 189 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended.
It held that defection to another political party was not stated as one of the grounds for the removal of either a governor or his deputy.
Reacting, Counsel to the defendant, Chief Mike Ozekhome lauded the decision of the court adding that his clients’ defection was not illegal.
PDP had in its suit prayed the court to sack both Ayade and his deputy, contending that the duo, having abandoned the political party that sponsored their re-election, ought to vacate their respective offices.
It had among other things, urged the court to declare 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.