Court sacks Ogbuoji, orders fresh senatorial election in Ebonyi
Obinna Odogwu, Abakaliki
The Federal High Court sitting in Abakaliki, capital of Ebonyi State, has sacked the senator representing Ebonyi South, Sonni Ogbuoji.
The court, in a judgment delivered by Justice Akintola Aluko, ordered him to vacate the seat immediately.
This came barely 38 days after the lawmaker, who contested the last governorship election on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) was defeated by the candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Governor David Umahi.
Ogbuoji had, in 2018, dumped his former party, the PDP, on which platform he went to the Senate, citing intractable crisis in his former party as a reason for his departure.
But, pissed by his move, some of his constituents, who are also members of the PDP approached the court to seek interpretation to the relevant sections of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), which deal with such issues.
The plaintiffs; Evo Ogbonnaya Anegu, Oti Ama Ude, Uche Richard Ajali, Una Sunday Okoro and Simon Ajali Ogbadu, who acted for themselves and other members of the PDP in a suit number FHC/AI/CS/44/2018, sought among others, the declaration of the Ebonyi South senatorial seat vacant.
Joined in the suit as the second defendant was the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The court held that Ogbuoji, by defecting from the PDP to the APC, violated section 68(1)g of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and ordered INEC to withdraw his Certificate of Return and conduct a fresh election immediately; to fill the vacant seat.
The court also ordered the lawmaker to refund all monies, be it salaries, allowances or any other form of payment he may have received as benefits from the position of senator from the date of his defection, to the coffers of government.
The plaintiffs, represented by their counsel, Roy Umahi, stated that if Ogbuoji’s conduct was not condemned and upturned, it would encourage political prostitution and legislative rascality.