Governor Umahi had called the judge a ‘hatchet man’ and declared the court judgment as null and void.
The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has condemned Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State over his derogatory remarks against a federal judge who ordered his sack for defecting from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja, on Tuesday, ordered that Mr Umahi and the Deputy Governor, Kelechi Igwe, should vacate their positions.
Justice Ekwo declared that having defected from the PDP, the platform under which they came into power, the duo were deemed to have resigned from the office and, hence, no longer entitled to be called governor and deputy governor.
The judge said it was constitutionally wrong for a candidate elected into office on a platform of a political party to defect to another political party while still in office.
He said the votes gotten by Messrs Umahi and Igwe on March 9, 2019, were PDP votes and not for the APC.
Fifteen Ebonyi State lawmakers who defected from the PDP to the APC were also affected by the judgement.
We’ll not obey the judgment – Umahi
Mr Umahi, in a press conference he called on Tuesday to react to the judgment, attacked Justice Ekwo’s integrity and said he was not going to obey the court order.
Mr Umahi repeatedly referred to the judge as a “hatchet man”.
“No constitutional provision for any hatchet man to remove a governor.
“There are three ways in whoever is a governor can vacate his seat, it is either by death, resignation or impeachment by the House of Assembly.
“There is no other constitutional provision that empowers a hatchet man to turn the constitution upside down,” he said.
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Continuing, the governor said, “I have listened to the judgement of Justice Ekwo and it is very obvious he was on a mission, he was making all efforts to upturn the rulings of the Supreme Court and Appeal Court on issues like this.
“We have heard the rumours before now that he was determined to give judgment against all known laws and the constitution first to embarrass the APC and the federal government.”
The governor, without providing any evidence, insinuated that the judgment may have been “purchased”.
He described the judgment as “jungle justice” and said that Justice Ekwo has “murdered justice”.
“This same judge has over 10 cases against the Ebonyi State Government with him, and you can imagine what he is going to rule. We have petition him (sic) to NJC and we will follow it up at all cost to ensure that this man is brought to justice.
“I want you to disregard the judgment, it is null and void. We will not obey the ruling,” Governor Umahi said.