Court Defers Judgement On Ayade’s Defection

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The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, has rescheduled judgement in a suit challenging the defection of Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River, from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Although the court had initially fixed March 25 to deliver judgement, the cause list on Friday showed that the case has been rescheduled.

On the cause list before Justice Taiwo Taiwo, a new date (6/4/2022), was written on it.

The PDP, through its counsel Emmanuel Ukala, had sought an order sacking the governor and his deputy over their defection.

Ayade was elected on the platform of the PDP in 2015 and 2019, but defected to the APC on May 20, 2021, along with his deputy.

Ukala had argued that Ayade and his Deputy should vacate their offices because votes in an election belongs to political parties and not the flagbearers.

Among the reliefs sought, include: “A declaration that in view of the provisions of section 221 of the Constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) and the democratic system of governance operated in Nigeria, votes at the election and elections are won by political parties and not their candidate or the candidates sponsored at the election by the political parties.”

“INEC should immediately receive from the plaintiff (PDP), the name of its candidates to replace the 3rd and 4th defendants (Ayade and Esu), for the purpose of utilising the lawful votes cast in favour of the plaintiff or in the alternative, directing the 1st defendant to hold a gubernatorial election for Cross River State in accordance with Section 177 of the Constitution excluding the 3rd and 4th defendants, who are disqualified from participating in the election by virtue of Section 192 (1) (b) of the Constitution) arising from abandonment of the majority lawful votes and the offices occasioned by the action of the 3rd and 4th defendants by reason of their becoming members of the 2nd defendant, who did not win majority of the lawful votes cast at the election.”

Justice Taiwo will now pass his verdict on the case by April 6.