By Prof. Edoba Omoregie, SAN
It’s difficult to express informed opinion on the judgement delivered today, March 8, 2022 by the Federal High Court, Abuja, on the defection of Mr. David Umehi and his Deputy, without reading the judgment.
But the general principle is well settled by Attorney General of the Federation v. Abubakar (2007) where the Supreme Court refused to endorse the removal of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar as Vice President for defecting to the Action Congress (AC) from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The constitutional provisions on grounds for removal of elected members of the executive branch has not changed or be altered since then.
I wonder the ground upon which the Federal High Court has decided the case ordering the removal of Governor David Umahi and his Deputy.
As for the lawmakers, the principle is also well settled by the Supreme Court.
Law makers in the National Assembly and State Assemblies cannot defect and retain their seats when there’s no schism within the party on which platform they were elected leading to the emergence of a split at the national level of the party.
A schism at the local or state level of the party does not qualify as a split for this purpose.
To this extent, the judgment as it affects Ebonyi law makers appears right in principle.