19/05/2022

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Ebonyi Gov, Deputy seek stay of execution of judgment sacking them

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Embattled Ebonyi Governor, David Umahi and his Deputy, Dr. Kelechi Igwe have asked the Federal High Court in Abuja for a stay of execution of its judgment that ordered their removal from office.

In a motion on notice filed by their counsel, Chukwuma Machukwu Ume (SAN), on Thursday, the governor and his Deputy, prayed the court stay execution of the judgment delivered on March 8, 2022, directing the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) to immediately receive from the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP), the names of its candidates to replace them.

The court is also prayed to stay the execution of its order directing INEC to hold a governorship election in accordance with section 177(c) of the 1999 Constitution.

In addition, the motion on notice dated March 9, 2022, is seeking an order staying the execution of the order of the court directing INEC to immediately declare the persons nominated by the PDP as Governor and Deputy Governor of Ebonyi State respectively.

They also urged the court to stay the execution of its order restraining the INEC from recognizing or continuing to recognize them as Governor and Deputy Governor of Ebonyi State respectively.

They equally asked for a stay of execution of an order restraining them from holding themselves out as Governor and Deputy Governor of Ebonyi State respectively pending the hearing and determination of the appeal dated and filed on March 9, 2022, by the appellants.

Justice Inyang Ekwo was asked to grant an order restraining the PDP from submitting any names to the INEC for the purpose of declaring them Governor and Deputy Governor of Ebonyi State in replacement of the applicants and if already submitted and accepted, an order of injunction restraining the INEC from using or putting same into effect until the determination of the appeal filed by the applicants.

They are further seeking an order restraining the INEC from conducting elections into their offices and or declaring the names of any candidate presented by the PDP as the Governor and Deputy Governor of Ebonyi State pending the determination of the appeal filed by them.

The motion which was brought pursuant to order 26 rules 1 and 2(1) and order 32 rules 1 and 4(1) of the Federal High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules 2019, is predicated on eight grounds.

The grounds include the fact that the applicants who are dissatisfied with the judgment of the court have appealed the said judgment in the Court of Appeal by filling their notice of appeal dated March 9, 2022.

That the notice of appeal has been duly served on all the parties and the court.

That they have also commenced the process for the compilation and transmission of the records of the appeal in the appeal.

It is their prayer that unless the execution of the judgment of the court is stayed, the outcome of the appeal filed by them will be rendered nugatory.

Ume noted that the appeal by his clients raises substantial, recondite and arguable issues of law with reasonable chances of success.

He further argued that the rights of his clients will be highly jeopardized if the judgment of the court is allowed to be executed before their appeal is heard and determined.

Ume said one of the serious grounds of the appeal is the substantial issue of jurisdiction, which he stated, constitutes exceptional circumstances in consideration to which the law permits the grant of stay of execution pending the hearing and determination of the applicant’s appeal.

Similarly, the 16 lawmakers of the Ebonyi State House of Assembly who were ordered to vacate their seats have equally filed a motion of stay of execution of the judgment.

Counsel to the lawmakers, Chukwuma Ma-Chukwu Ume (SAN), in a motion on notice dated March 9, 2022, prayed the court for an order staying the execution of the judgment as it affects the lawmakers.

The lawmakers have equally filed an appeal against the judgment of the Federal High Court.