Ebonyi State High Court has ordered Governor David Umahi and his Deputy, Kelechi Igwe not to vacate their offices.
The interim order was secured following an ex-parte motion by counsel to the duo, Roy Umahi brought pursuant to rule 3(3) of the High Court rules of Ebonyi state in suit no HAB/13/22.
The Court had on February 28, 2022, ruled that Governor Umahi and his Deputy did not flout any law by defecting from the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP to the All Progressive Congress, APC.
The Federal High Court, Abuja had on March 8, 2022, ordered Umahi and his Deputy to vacate their seats.
The presiding Judge, Justice Inyang Ekwo further ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) to accept new nominations for the two positions from the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and to issue them with certificates of return for them to be sworn in as Governor and Deputy.
Umahi and his Deputy rejected the Abuja ruling arguing that the Ebonyi High Court ruling should take precedence.
To this effect, Messrs Umahi and Igwe approached the same Ebonyi High Court yesterday, praying the court to declare that its judgement of the 28th February 2022 on their defection to APC remains valid as a judgement in rem and as such should have precedence over any other contrary judgement and should be binding on all parties, persons and authorities.
In his ruling, Justice Henry Njoku granted the prayers sought by the duo and adjourned the matter to March 16 for a hearing on the motion on notice.
He declared: “it is hereby ordered as follows, an interim order of this honourable court for seven days(subject to renewal) is hereby granted in view of the judgement in suit no. HAB/13/22 delivered on the 28th day of February 2022, being a judgement in rem and having precedence over any contrary judgement.