In adherence to judicial precedence, the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has cautioned itself by refusing to declare vacant the seats of the Cross River State Governor Ben Ayade and his deputy over their defection from People’s Democratic Party to the ruling All Progressives Congress.
Citing the verdict of the Court of Appeal Enugu division, the trial judge Justice Taiwo Taiwo departed from his earlier judgment and held on to the decision of the Court of Appeal on April 1, 2022 to the effect that defection is not an offence under the country’s constitution.
The court held that governors and their deputies can only be removed from office in line with sections 180, 188 and 189 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which stipulated that elective office holders can only be removed from office on account of death, resignation or impeachment.
Justice Taiwo Taiwo said that since defection is not one of the offences provided for in the constitution, no court has power to insert such into the grundnorm.
In an orbiter, Justice Taiwo however agreed that defection from a winning party to a losing one is immoral and improper.