Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi has resisted his sacking by a High Court decision, vowing to continue in office.
He advised residents of the state to be calm, saying he was confident the verdict will be overturned in the Appeal Court.
The Governor, who referred to Justice Inyang Ekwo’s decision as “jungle justice,” said he had filed a complaint with the Nigerian Judicial Council against the judge (NJC).
He pointed out that the Court lacks the authority to remove him as Governor since he is protected by an immunity clause that shields him from any litigation save pre-election and tribunal matters.
Umahi further pointed out that an Ebonyi High Court and a Zamfara High Court have both ruled in favor of governors who have defected.
“The Constitution provides that a Governor’s seat can only be vacated by death, resignation, or impeachment by the House of Assembly,” he stated.
“There is no other clause in the constitution that allows a knucklehead to turn it inside out.”
“I have listened to Ekwo’s judgment and it is clear that he was on a mission. On problems like this, he was making every effort to overturn the verdicts of the Appeal and Supreme courts.
“We’ve heard allegations that he was hell-bent on overturning all known laws and the constitution in order to disgrace the APC and the federal administration.”
“I am not concerned about myself, but I am concerned for the judges.” The executive branch may have issues, and the legislative may have issues, but the moment justice can be bought, we are in serious trouble in this country. And today’s decision is further proof that this country is in jeopardy.
“And let me tell you, this same judge has over ten cases pending against the Ebonyi State Government, so you can understand how he will rule.” We’ve filed a petition with NJC, and we’ll follow up to make sure he’s brought to justice.”
“I want you to disregard the judgment; it is null and void, and there is a valid judgment in the states of Ebonyi and Zamfara.” So we’ve decided who to obey, and we’re not going to obey his decision; instead, we’re going to obey the decision of a competent court of coordinating jurisdiction that says you can’t sue a governor.
“According to the Constitution, no civil or criminal procedures against a sitting governor can be brought.” This isn’t a pre-election matter, and it’s not a case before a tribunal. As a result, he has assassinated the rule of law in this country, and he and his generation will be recognized for this jungle justice that has no foundation.
“I am still the Governor of Ebonyi State, and he does not have the authority to dismiss me,” Umahi stated.
The Governor further claimed that the Judge lacked the authority to declare House of Assembly members’ seats empty.
He claimed that earlier rulings had established that only the presiding officer of the House of Assembly or the National Assembly can do so.