By Joshua Omoloye
Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has announced that it would make a categorical statement next week on the ruling of a Federal High Court that invalidated the election of Engr. David Umahi and Kelechi Igwe as governor and deputy governor of Ebonyi State.
The court faulted both Umahi and Kelechi for defecting to the All Progressives Congress (APC) with the mandate given to them by the people of Ebonyi State from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), on which platform they contested and won in 2019.
The PDP joined the Commission as defendant in the suit seeking the retrieval of its mandate. National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Barrister Festus said the legal issue was part of matters deliberated upon at the meeting and that the Commission was briefed by its Litigation and Prosecution Department.
Okoye said an update on litigations, showed that in the last three months, the INEC has 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 intraparty issues or litigants seeking for various reliefs from the Courts that entail consequential orders that are binding on the Commission, The Trumpet gathered.
“The Commission today listed this matter for deliberation. It involves Court cases on the defection of the Governor and DeputyGovernor 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.
“Consequently, the Commission 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”.