The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Thursday said it has been served with at least “nine separate Orders and Motions from various Courts” over the defection of Ebonyi State Governor Dave Umahi from the Peoples Democratic Party to the All Progressives Congress.
A Federal High Court in Abuja had ruled last week that Governor Umahi should relinquish his position due to the defection, sparking a tussle for the seat.
Justice Inyang Ekwo had also ordered INEC to receive names of candidates from the PDP to replace Umahi and his deputy, Eric Igwe.
The PDP has nominated Iduma Enwo Igariwey as a replacement for Umahi and Fred Udeogu as Deputy Governor.
However, in a statement on Thursday, INEC’s National Commissioner, Festus Okoye, said the electoral body was still deliberating on its next move due to the avalanche of court orders on its desk.
“The Commission has been served with nine separate Orders and Motions from various Courts on this matter,” the statement said.
“Just as the Commission was about to commence deliberation on them, its attention was drawn to additional Court processes served today in respect of the matter.
“Consequently, the Commission decided to defer its deliberation on the Ebonyi cases and stepped down the listed Memorandum to enable its Legal Services and Clearance Committee to study the new processes in the light of the previously served ones and advise the Commission comprehensively.
“The Commission will meet again next week to deliberate on the matter and thereafter make its decision public.”
INEC said it had been joined, in the last three months, in 71 cases in various courts across the country.
“Most of these cases, including the widely discussed one on Ebonyi State, involve either intra-party issues or litigants seeking for various reliefs from the Courts that entail consequential orders that are binding on the Commission,” Okoye’s statement said.