Court sacks sitting governor in Nigeria over party defection, See what that means for political parties
The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, Nigeria, on Tuesday, gave a judgement that could upset political behaviour in the West Africa country as it ordered removal of Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State and his Deputy, Dr Eric Kelechi Igwe, following their defection from the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC.
The judgement, delivered by Justice Inyang Ekwo followed a suit the PDP lodged before the court and held that the total number of 393, 042 votes governor Umahi secured during the March 9, 2019 governorship election in Ebonyi state, belonged to the PDP and same could not be legally transferred to the APC.
The court verdict is new a precedence in Nigeria political landscape. Party defection is common among politicians. Sitting governors particularly are fond of switching party allegiance.
In May 2021, Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State dumped the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the All Progressives Congress (APC) after four years of speculations, foot dragging and denials.
In June of the same year the Governor of Zamfara State, Bello Matawalle, who was elected on the platform of the PDP after the Supreme Court nullified the victory of the APC in the 2019 elections in Zamfara State also joined Nigeria’s ruling party, All Progressives Congress (APC).
It is expected that Mr. Umahi and the All Progressive Congress (APC) will challenge the ruling at the Supreme Court. If the apex court upheld the ruling, the verdict would become a case law that would influence political behaviour of gladiators in Nigeria.
According to the court, having defected to the APC, both Umahi and his deputy, not only jettisoned the PDP, but also the votes that belonged to it.
It held that going by the outcome of the governorship election, the office of the governor and deputy governor in Ebonyi state, “belong to the Plaintiff and no other political party”
“There is no constitutional provision that made the ballot transferrable from one party to the other”.
It held that the PDP is bound to retain the votes and mandate that was given to it by electorates in Ebonyi state, as both governor Umahi and his Deputy could not validly transfer same to APC.
The court, therefore, ordered both Umahi and Igwe to immediately vacate their positions.
It ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to immediately receive from the PDP, names of persons to replace Umahi and his Deputy, or in the alternative, conduct a fresh gubernatorial election in Ebonyi state in line with section 177(c) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended.
The court further restrained both Umahi and Igwe from further parading themselves as governor or deputy governor of Ebonyi state.
Algeria, Sierra Leone get non-permanent seat at UN Security Council
Algeria and Sierra Leone, have been elected as non-permanent members of the the United Nations’ Security Council for 2024-2025.
The two countries are part of the ten countries elected for two years in the Council outside the five power bloc countries— the United States, China, Russia, France and the United Kingdom.
The countries replace Albania, Brazil, Gabon, Ghana and the United Arab Emirates and will join Ecuador, Japan, Malta, Mozambique and Switzerland who were elected last year.
For Sierra Leone, it’s a return to the council after 53 years. Its Foreign Minister, David Francis said it was “a great day for this small, progressive and confident country…which has successfully transitioned from war to peace.”
Guyana and South Korea were also elected unchallenged while Slovenia handily beat Belarus for the only contested seat.
An official of rights agency, Human Rights Watch, Louis Charbonneau remarked that “the vote in the General Assembly shows why a competition for UN elections is essential” after Slovenia edged Belarus for the seat going to Eastern Europe and obtained 153 votes, against 38 in Belarus.
“UN member states have undoubtedly decided that Belarus’ grave human rights violations at home and attempts to cover up Russian atrocities in Ukraine disqualify it from serving on the Security Council, a crucial body for ensuring human rights. humans,” he added.
Algeria got 184 votes, South Korea 180 votes, Sierra Leone 188 votes and Guyana 191 in a single candidate votes for four seat reserved for Africa, Asia-Pacific and Latin America/Caribbean.
There has been a long debate about the place of Africa in international relations. At the inception of the United Nations, only four independent African countries represented the continent when 50 representatives of different countries met in San Francisco, California, in 1945 to complete the Charter of the United Nations.
South Africa: Opposition, DA want findings on alleged arms supply to Russia public
South African opposition party, the Democratic Alliance has vowed to challenge the decision by the presidency to keep from the public, findings from recent arm supply allegations.
The follows allegations by United States Ambassador, Reuben Brigety that South Africa provided ammunition to Russia by ship. Brigety said the US was sure that contrary to its public claim of being non-aligned in the Russia/Ukraine crisis, South Africa supplied arms to Vladimir Putin’s army in December.
Following the allegation, President Ramaphosa launched an investigation to be conducted by an independent body which will be led by retired Deputy Justice Phineas Mojapelo, advocate Leah Gcabashe, and former justice minister Enver Surty. Meanwhile, his spokesperson, Vincent Magwenya said the government would withhold the panel’s findings.
Magwenya said the terms of reference for the inquiry would not be gazetted or published.
“The investigation covers issues of national security and classified information, which is protected from disclosure,” he said.
“This inquiry has been instituted in a similar manner to the inquiry that investigated the July 2021 riots in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng and the value of its report remains unchallenged.
“The panel will be supported in gathering the information that is necessary to fulfil its mandate by letters from the president instructing all relevant government entities as identified by the panel to cooperate fully with the panel or face disciplinary sanction,” he said.
“The work of the panel will not be public, nor will its report be made public. The president will speak to any actions that may result with respect to national security. This is provided for within our secrecy laws as per the nature of this matter,” he added.
In a statement, the DA said it would not ” leave this secrecy unchallenged. We have already submitted an application under the Promotion of Access to Information Act to obtain a copy of the panel’s terms of reference. And we are obtaining legal advice to challenge Ramaphosa’s plan to hide the report once it is complete.”
The party leader, John Steenhuisen argued that keeping the report private “undermines the ability of prosecutors and the public to hold guilty parties accountable for any such violations of the law”.
“Hiding this report from public view will rob the people of South Africa – and of the world – of the opportunity to see the full facts of this matter.
“Refusing to disclose the complete picture of how the ANC-led government allegedly smuggled weapons to arm Russia’s war in Ukraine and various parts of Africa will also undermine the very purpose of the investigation.”
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