Court Sacks Lawmaker for Defecting to APC

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A Federal High Court sitting in Uyo has affirmed the sack of Mr. Gabriel Toby, member representing Etim Ekpo/Ika State Constituency in the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly. The Court, presided over by Justice Fatun Riman ruled that the lawmaker lost his seat, having defected from the Party which gave him the ticket – People’s Democratic Party (PDP) – to the All Progressives Congress (APC), last year. Speaking shortly after the ruling, counsel to the PDP, Barr. Umoh said the Court relied on Section 109 of the constitution which gives two grounds warranting defection by a lawmaker to include division in a party and where a merger is reached. Also Read: Former NMA Head Calls for full Implementation of Residency Training Act Umoh noted that none of the scenarios played out last November when the complaint defected to the APC, and lauded the judgment of the court. “We are awaiting the judgment on the remaining similar cases, but for Gabriel Toby and Idongesit Ituen (who earlier received a similar judgement), this is a final judgment as far as this case is concerned. The Court has declared their defection as unacceptable in totality and as such was wrong” “The Court says their defection was illegal and that means automatically they had lost their seats the day they defected. It is a simple interpretation of what the constitution says in Section 109” Meanwhile, one of the sacked lawmakers of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Mr Victor Udofia who’s similar case is still pending, has applauded the judgment of the federal High Court concerning his colleague, Mr. Gabriel Toby. Interacting with newsmen at the Uyo Federal High Court premises, Mr. Udofia described the judgement as a ‘win-win’ situation saying the Judge was fair in his ruling. “We knew the process and we know the consequences, once you cross carpet from the Political party. Even the Bible says you must know the truth and the truth shall set you free. “For the Judgment today, honestly there was no compromise, the Judge did what the law says and for me, I am satisfied” Udofia said. On his judgment coming up next Monday, Udofia maintained that, “from all indications the Judge is not biased and the ruling that will come on that day will not be different from what has happened today. “But to be honest with you, it is a win-win situation for both parties” He however said the Speaker ought to have waited for the court to make pronouncements on the vacation of the seats rather than “taking laws into his own hands”. Mr. Udofia who said he has a future outside politics urged Akwa Ibom people to learn to play politics devoid of bitterness and learn to relate as brothers irrespective of differences.

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