How Court Verdict On Umahi Will Strengthen Nigeria’s Democratic Space – Former SSG

Former Secretary to the State Government of Ebonyi, Prof. Benard Odoh, has said that the Federal High Court, Abuja judgement that ousted Gov. Dave Umahi would “strengthen the democratic space in the country”.

Umahi was removed by the Court along with his deputy, Dr. Eric Kelechi-Igwe, for defecting from the PDP on whose platform they won the election in 2019, to the rival APC.

The Court also sacked 17 lawmakers who defected along with the duo.

In a statement personally signed by him on Thursday in Abakaliki, Prof. Odoh declared that the court verdict would enrich the nation’s adjudicatory system and deepen party democracy in Nigeria.

“As someone who has, and will always speak and stand for the Ebonyi masses, I am optimistic that this verdict, whichever way the pendulum swings,will indeed help in enriching the Nigerian adjudicatory system on election matter.

He particularly noted that the landmark judgement was the first time a serving governor and his deputy were being sacked by the court over defection to another political party.

“There has not been a judicial precedence of this kind since the advent of the Fourth Republic, hence the varied interpretations and reactions the verdict has generated.

“However, for reasonable and discerning minds, the prevailing situation, including the varied interpretations, are all within the confines of what democracy permits,” he added.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Justice Iyang Ekwo delivered the judgement in a case filed by by Umahi’s former political platform, the PDP.

He hinged his judgement on the view that votes belong to the political parties and not the individuals flying the tickets.