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Umahi, Deputy Beg Court To Stop INEC From Recognising PDP Nominees

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Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi and others have sought an order of the Federal High Court, Abuja, staying the execution of its judgment directing them to vacate their offices over their defection to another political party.

Justice Inyang Ekwo, on Tuesday in a judgment, ordered Umahi, his deputy, Kelechi Igwe, and the 16 lawmakers to vacate their office and seats, following their defection from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to All Progressives Congress (APC).

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Mr Ekwo also directed the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) to immediately receive from the PDP, names of its candidates to replace them.

Meanwhile, on Thursday in a motion on notice filed by their counsel, Chukwuma Ma-Chukwu Ume, SAN, the applicants prayed the court for an order staying the execution of the orders made against them.

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The applicants also prayed the court to stay the execution of its order directing INEC to receive other names in their place or hold a governorship election in accordance with Section 177(c) of the 1999 Constitution.

Messrs Umahi and Igwe, in the motion on notice dated March 9 is equally seeking an order staying the execution of the order of court directing INEC to immediately declare the persons nominated by the PDP as governor and deputy governor of Ebonyi respectively.

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They further urged the court to stay the execution of its order restraining the INEC from recognising or continuing to recognise them as governor and deputy governor of the state.

They equally asked for an order staying the execution of an order restraining them from putting themselves out as governor and deputy governor of Ebonyi respectively pending the hearing and determination of the appeal dated and filed on March 9 by the appellants.

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Mr Ekwo was further urged to grant an order restraining the PDP from submitting any names to the INEC for the purpose of declaring them as governor and deputy governor of Ebonyi in replacement of the applicants and if already submitted and accepted, an order of injunction restraining the INEC from using or putting same into effect until the determination of the appeal filed by the applicants.

They are further seeking an order restraining the INEC from conducting elections into their offices and or declaring the names of any candidate presented by the PDP as the governor and deputy Governor of Ebonyi pending the determination of the appeal filed by them.

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The motion which was brought pursuant to Order 26 Rules 1 and 2(1) and Order 32 Rules 1 and 4(1) of the Federal High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules, 2019, is predicated on eight grounds.

The grounds include the fact that the applicants who are dissatisfied with the judgment of the court have appealed the said judgment to the Court of Appeal by filling their notice of appeal dated March 9.

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That the notice of appeal has been dully served on all the parties and the court.

That they have also commenced the process for the compilation and transmission of the records of the appeal in the appeal.

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It is their prayer that unless execution of the judgment of the court is stayed, the outcome of the appeal filed by them will be rendered nugatory.

The lawyer said that the appeal by his clients raised substantial, recondite and arguable issues of law with reasonable chances of success.

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He further argued that the rights of his clients would be highly jeopardised if the judgment of the court was allowed to be executed before their appeal is heard and determined.

Mr Ume said one of the serious grounds of the appeal was the substantial issue of jurisdiction, which he stated, constitute exceptional circumstances in consideration to which the law permits the grant of stay of execution pending the hearing and determination of the applicants’ appeal.

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