Former Spokesman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Lagos State, Taofik Gani, says court order mandating Gov. David Umahi of Ebonyi and others to vacate offices over defection from PDP to APC will sanitise Nigeria’s democracy.
A Federal High Court, Abuja, on Tuesday, ordered Umahi, his Deputy, Dr Eric Igwe, and some lawmakers in the state to vacate offices over their defection to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
Justice Inyang Ekwo, in a judgment ordered Umahi and Igwe to stop parading himself as governor and deputy governor of the state.
Justice Ekwo declared that having defection from the PDP, under which platform they came into power and defected to the APC, the duo had deemed to have resigned from the office and, hence, no longer entitled to be called governor of deputy governor.
The judge said it was constitutionally wrong for a candidate elected into an office on a platform of a political party to defect to another political while still holding into office.
He said the votes gotten by Umahi and Igwe on March 9, 2019, were PDP votes and not APC.
Reacting, Gani, told NAN that the development was a good one to make Nigeria’s democracy stand at pal with those being practised in developed nations.
According to him, his reaction is not because Umahi and others defected from PDP to APC, but because of the gains the judgement will bring to the nation’s democracy.
“We welcome this judicial pronouncement not because we are of the PDP but because it is good for our democracy.
“It will put sanity into how the politicians act after they got the privilege of their political platform.
“It is not because Umahi of PDP is going to APC now that we are glad, we shall hold the same views even if it is the turn of APC to PDP,” he said.
According to him, once the pronouncement is upheld, nobody will celebrate any undue defection again.
Gani, who is also a legal practitioner, said that the government must ensure enforcement of the court judgement.
He added though it was not the intendiment of the law for governors or president to cross carpet as it was in the case of legislators which was clearly pronounced in the law that once they carpet cross, they have to vacate their seat, the development was a pathway to sanity.
“It is the intendiment of law that we must have sanity, and we must have integrity.
“People cannot vote for us on the platform of a political party and once we get to office, we now, at will or for one interest or the other, abandon the voters and cross to another party. That is taking away the original mandate of the people.
“Again, we welcome this judicial pronouncement. It will make our democracy grow the way we expect,” he said.
The ex-PDP spokesman said that with the judgement anybody, who wanted to contest under a political platform, would be ready to stay with the ideology of that political party under any circumstance.
He said that differences would always arise but they must be managed within political party.
“This pronouncement must be expeditiously enforced. Umahi, deputy and the affected lawmakers must vacate their seats immediately and that is what we expect,” he added.
Umahi, a two-term governor, who was elected on the platform of the PDP, joined the APC in 2020.
Shortly after the governor and his deputy crossed over to the APC, the speaker and some lawmakers joined them.
In his ruling, Ekwo also ordered all the lawmakers who defected to vacate their seats.
The judge held that all salaries and allowances collected from the period of defection to the present should be forfeited to the government coffers.