Almost five months after the defection of Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River state from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC), the PDP has dragged he and his deputy, Prof Ivara Esu to court, seeking that they vacate office for defecting to the APC.
The case which was instituted in the Federal High Court Abuja in Suit No: FHC/ABJ/CS/975/2021 also joined the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the APC as defendants.
The PDP is arguing that the mandate given by the electorate was to the PDP and not APC, and that Governor Ayade, as the candidate of the party at the election, “cannot transfer the mandate to the APC or any other political party.”
Emmanuel C. Ukala is leading four other Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs) in the suit.
PDP is seeking: “A judicial declaration giving the PDP an opportunity to nominate a replacement to the seat of the governor and the deputy governor in Cross River state.
“A declaration that in view of the provisions of section 221 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic, 1999 (as amended) and the democratic system of governance operated in Nigeria, votes at the election and elections are won by political parties and not their candidates or the candidates sponsored at the election by the political parties.”
The party also wants the court to determine whether “the majority lawful votes cast in favour of the political party that won an election can be appropriated by the political party that lost the election for the purpose of forming or running a government and whether the majority votes won by a political party is transferable to another party who did not win.
“Whether the 2nd Defendant (APC), having polled or scored 131,161 votes at the said governorship election as against the majority votes of 381,484 votes scored or won by Plaintiff, the Plaintiff is not bound to retain its votes throughout the duration of its tenure or office for which the election was held.”
“An order of perpetual injunction restraining forthwith the 2nd defendant (APC), its agents, privies, servants and assigns or any person whatsoever from putting themselves out or parading themselves as the political party whose members occupy the offices of governor
and deputy governor respectively of Cross River state.”
The defendants were given “30 days after service of this summons on them, inclusive of the day if such service, cause an appearance to be entered for them to this summons.”
When contacted, the senior special adviser to Governor Ayade on media and publicity, Mr. Christian Ita, described the PDP suit as an “exercise in futility.”
“In any case, given the relevant provisions of the Constitution, they are just jokers and jesters who are embarking on mere academic exercise for cheap headlines in the media,” he said.