Former spokesman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Lagos State, Mr Taofik Gani, says the court order mandating Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State and others to vacate offices over defection from PDP to APC will sanitise Nigeria’s democracy.
The Federal High Court in Abuja, on Tuesday, ordered Umahi, his Deputy, Dr Eric Igwe, and some lawmakers in the state to vacate offices over their defection to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
Justice Inyang Ekwo, in a judgment, ordered Umahi and Igwe to stop parading themselves as governor and deputy governor of the state, respectively.
Justice Ekwo declared that haven defected from the PDP, on which platform they came to power and defected to the APC, they were deemed to have resigned from office.
The Judge therefore held that they were no longer entitled to be called governor or deputy governor.
The judge said it was constitutionally wrong for a candidate elected into an office on the platform of a political party to defect to another political party, while still holding office.
He said the votes gotten by Umahi and Igwe on March 9, 2019, were PDP’s votes and not for APC.
Reacting ex-PDP spokesman said that the judgment was a good one that would make Nigeria’s democracy stand at par with what obtained in developed countries.
According to him, not because Umahi and others defected from his party, PDP to APC, but because of the gains the judgment will bring to the nation’s democracy.
“We welcome this judicial pronouncement not because we are of the PDP but because it is good for our democracy.
“It will put sanity into how the politicians act after they get the privilege of their political parties’ platforms.
“It is not because Umahi of PDP defected to APC that we are glad, we will hold the same views even if it is the turn of APC to PDP,” he said.
According to him, once the pronouncement is upheld, nobody will celebrate any undue defection again.
Gani, who is also a legal practitioner, said that the government must ensure the enforcement of the judgment.
He added that although it was not the intention of the law for governors or president to cross carpet as was in the case of legislators.
He explained that the constitution was clearly pronounced that once a lawmaker carpet-crossed, they would have to vacate their seat.
“It is the intention of law that we must have sanity, and we must have integrity.
“People cannot vote for us on the platform of a political party and once we get to office, we now, at will or for one interest or the other, abandon the voters and cross to another party.
“That is tantamount to taking away the original mandate of the people.
“Again, we welcome this judicial pronouncement. It will make our democracy grow the way we expect,” he said.
The ex-PDP spokesman said with the instant judgment, anybody who wanted to contest election on a particular political party’s platform, would be ready to stay with the ideology of that political party under any circumstance.
He said that political differences would always arise but they must be managed within the political party.
“This pronouncement must be expeditiously enforced. Umahi, deputy and the affected lawmakers must vacate their seats immediately and that is what we expect,” he added.
Umahi, a two-term governor, who was elected on the platform of the PDP, joined the APC in 2020.
Shortly after the governor and his deputy crossed over to the APC, the speaker and some of the state’s lawmakers joined them.
In his ruling, Ekwo also ordered all the lawmakers who had defected to vacate their seats.
The judge held that all salaries and allowances collected from the period of defection to the present should be forfeited to government coffers.