Court Saves Gov. Ayade, Throws Out PDP’s Anti-defection Suit

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Court Saves Gov. Ayade, Throws Out PDP's Anti-defection Suit

The Federal High Court Abuja, on Thursday, dismissed a suit filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), seeking to declare the seat of Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State and his Deputy, Ivara Esu, vacant, for dumping the party for the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

The presiding judge, Justice Taiwo Taiwo, in his ruling held that the defendants cannot be sacked from their respective positions on the grounds that the constitution did not stipulate that a sitting governor can be removed based on defection.

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Recall that PDP in the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/975/2021, prayed the court to sack both Ayade and his deputy, arguing that the duo, having abandoned the political party that sponsored their re-election, ought to vacate their respective offices.

Justice Taiwo ruled that Ayade and his deputy can only be removed through statutory procedures that were stipulated in sections 180, 188 and 189 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended.

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“The 3rd and 4th Defendant cannot be removed except by Constitutional provision.

“This court has no power to declare vacant the seat of the 3rd and 4th Defendants”, Justice Ekwo ruled.

The Justice averred that the removal of a sitting governor and his deputy can only be done in line with constitutional provisions.

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He added that under such provisions, the judiciary lacks the powers to remove an elected officer.

Ayade had in May 2021 defected to the APC from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), citing his love for President Muhammadu Buhari and his interest to align Cross River with the central government

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