The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said it has not gotten the certified copy of the Federal High Court judgment that ordered the sack of Ebonyi State governor, David Umahi, and his deputy, Kelechi Igwe.
INEC National Commissioner, Festus Okoye, said this in an exclusive interview.
He, however, said that the commission has gotten a letter from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), nominating replacements for the duo.
On Tuesday, a Federal High Court in Abuja ordered Umahi and Igwe to vacate their seats on grounds that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) won the election in March 2019 and not the candidates.
According to the judgment delivered by Justice Inyang Ekwo, having moved to the APC, Governor Umahi, and his deputy cannot transfer the mandate of the PDP to the APC. He ruled that their defection was illegal, null, and unconstitutional.
He referenced Section 221 of the Constitution and ordered the PDP to send names of replacements to INEC. Justice Ekwo equally ordered the electoral body to cease from recognizing Umahi and Igwe as the governor and deputy governor respectively.
In the wake of the judgment, Umahi said the court lacked the powers to sack him, arguing that the development has put the judiciary on trial. He also appealed the judgment.
His comments did not go fine with the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) which described Umahi’s remark as “executive rascality”.
The NBA in a statement said it “condemns without equivocation, Umahi’s unfortunate diatribe which, if it had emanated from an average litigant, would still have been regarded as shocking but coming from one who occupies the exalted office of a State Governor, is nothing short of a national embarrassment”.
But Umahi later apologized for the comment after the NBA demanded an apology from him.
“Now that the right thing has been done and the appeal process has been activated, we shall resume our backseat and allow the process to take its course,” the NBA president, Olumide Akpata, said in a series of tweets following the U-turn by Umahi.
“As far as the NBA is concerned, this brings an end to this unfortunate episode but we hope that important lessons have been learned”.