Ben Ayade gets new date for judgement over defection

Cross River State Governor Ben Ayade

A Federal High Court in Abuja has rescheduled judgment in a suit filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) against Cross River State Governor Ben Ayade.

Justice Taiwo Taiwo had planned to give judgment on Friday but the court could not sit because the judgement was not ready. The judgement was postponed till April 6.

The PDP, through its counsel Emmanuel Ukala, had filed the suit, seeking an order sacking the governor and his deputy over their defection to the All Progressives Congress (APC), among others.

The party had also asked the court to sack 20 lawmakers who joined the governor in switching to the APC on May 20, 2021.

Justice Taiwo on Monday ordered the lawmakers (two House of Representatives’ members representing Cross River and 18 lawmakers from the state’s House of Assembly) to vacate their seats over their defection to APC.

Taiwo ruled that the argument of the lawmakers that there was rancour in the PDP which necessitated their defection to APC was a ploy to mislead the court.

“A day must surely come when elected officials, must either resign from their office or ask the people who voted for them before defecting to other political parties, instead of defecting to another party without recourse to the law and the citizens, ” he said.

The affected representatives are Michael Etaba and Legor Idagbor while the 18 state lawmakers include the Speaker, House of Assembly, Eteng Williams; Mich Etaba, Legor Idagbor, Joseph Bassey, Odey Agbe and Okon Ephraim.

Others are Regina Anyogo, Matthew Olory, Ekpo Bassey, Ogbor Udop, Ekpe Okon, Hillary Bisong, Francis Asuquo, Elvert Ayambem, Davis Etta, Sunday Achunekan, Cynthia Nkasi, Edward Ajang, Chris Ogar and Maria Akwaji.

On March 8, Justice Inyang Ekwo sacked Ebonyi State Governor David Umahi and some lawmakers who defected to the APC from the PDP.