By Channels Television
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The Federal High Court in Abuja on Thursday dismissed a suit seeking to declare vacant the seat of Cross River State Governor Ben Ayade.
Justice Taiwo Taiwo 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 power to remove an elected officer.
Ayade defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC) in May 2021 from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), citing the allure of working with President Muhammadu Buhari.
The PDP subsequently filed a suit against Ayade and his deputy, Professor Ivara Esu, arguing that they had abandoned the political party that sponsored their re-election.
Justice Taiwo’s courtroom was packed on Thursday as lawyers and supporters trooped in to hear the judgment.
Similar suits have been filed against Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State, another PDP Governor who defected to the APC.
While a High Court has ruled in favor of the PDP in the Umahi case, other judgments have favored the incumbents.
The High Court ruling in favor of the PDP is currently under appeal.
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