A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, has dismissed a suit that sought the sacking of Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State and his deputy, Ivara Esu.
Daily Report Nigeria can recall that the Peoples Democratic Party had dragged Ben Ayade and his deputy to court, seeking an order for the duo to vacate office over their defection to the All Progressives Congress, APC
Ayade and Ivara were elected into office in 2015 under the umbrella of the PDP, before defecting to the ruling APC on May 20, 2021.
Their defection also forced some lawmakers of the Cross River State House of Assembly to cross over to the APC.
The PDP in its suit said votes gathered in an election belonged to a political party and not a candidate.
It sought for “a declaration that in view of the provisions of section 221 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) and the democratic system of governance operated in Nigeria, votes at the election and elections are won by political parties and not their candidate or the candidates sponsored at the election by the political parties.”
However, Justice Taiwo Taiwo in his declaration, cited the judgment of the Court of Appeal in Enugu that defection is not a ground for removal from office.
The Justice noted that the removal of a sitting governor and his deputy can only be done in line with constitutional provisions.
He added that under such provisions, the judiciary lacks the powers to remove an elected officer.