By Amuche Agbo, Abakaliki

Following the purported sack of the State Governor Engr. David Umahi and his Deputy Barr. Kelechi Igwe by the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja recently, the Executive council Members on Monday has said the duo have the legal right to remain in the office pending the appellate court judgment and also expressed confidence on the appeal court, saying there is no need to panic.

The Executive Council members disclosed this while briefing newsmen at the Exco-Chambers, old Government House, Abakaliki, saying that they had carefully studied the pronouncements of the High Court of Ebonyi State, Abakaliki Judicial Division, and the Federal High Court, Abuja on the legality or otherwise of the continued stay in office of Governor Umahi and his deputy on account of their well-considered defection from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressive Congress (APC).

On behalf of the Council Members, the State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Barr. Cletus Ofoke noted that the Council has passed a vote of confidence on Umahi, commended the immediate steps that have been taken by the Governor and his Deputy to file an appeal against the judgment of the Federal High Court, Abuja on the purported removal of the Governor and the Deputy Governor from office, and the attendant application for a stay of execution of the said judgment.

He hinted that the Council is satisfied with the judgment of the High Court of Ebonyi State, Abakaliki Judicial Division, in the matter and the consequential orders of the court that the Governor and the Deputy Governor have the legal right to remain in office.”

According to him, “That the Council believes that Ebonyi State will emerge from this ephemeral distraction as a stronger, better and more united people”

Chief Ofoke said that the Council respects the rule of law and has implicit confidence in the ability of the courts and judges involved in the cases related to the defection of Governor Umahi and his deputy to the All Progressives Congress to discharge the legal responsibilities involved in the case without fear, intimidation or favour.

He further noted that the council chose to remind the parties and individuals interested in the case that pending the final and exhaustive judgment on all appeals on the matter, “Governor Umahi remains the Executive Governor of Ebonyi State as provided for by both the 1999 Constitution (as amended) the 2022 Electoral Act and every other relevant extant law.

The Council commended Ebonyi people, particularly the members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the comportment and restraint they have exhibited in the face of unnecessary provocative pronouncements and actions by some mischievous elements who have chosen incongruent and malignant interpretations of the court’s judgment in a bid to achieve their premeditated devious objective of destabilizing the prevailing peace, law and order in Ebonyi State.

It also commended the informed consistency of the Governor on the task of responsive governance which has ensured fiscal discipline, infrastructural expansion, economic growth and the consolidation of the tenets of democracy in Ebonyi State.

The Council also condemned in unequivocal terms the antics of destructive politicians in their failed bid to distract the functional government of Ebonyi State from its avowed objective of setting Ebonyi State on the exclusive list of comity of viable Nigerian States.

“The Council is aware that the present avoidable and absurd assault on the intelligence of Ebonyi people and the politics of Ebonyi State by some entrenched self-serving elements with unbridled ambitions is part of a grand design to truncate the peaceful and logical disposition of the Governor to the well-established culture of rotation of elective political offices in Ebonyi State.

“That the Council believes in and supports the determination of the Governor to complete the economy stimulating projects that are already at their various stages of completion. The projects include but are not limited to, the Abakaliki ring road, the Ebonyi international Airport, the Iyere wonder bridge in Afikpo South Local Government Area, the King David University of Medical Sciences, Hausa quarters junction overhead bridge, rural feeder roads in the 13 (thirteen) Local Government Area of Ebonyi State, the Ebonyi State Liaison Office building, Abuja and many others that are still under construction,” the Commissioner added.

Barr. Ofoke said, in considering the massive infrastructural and human capital transformation that Ebonyi State has attained under Umahi, despite the paltry revenue allocation to the State from the federation account and the ability of the Governor to initiate policies and legal frameworks that have ensured sustainable economic growth, attested to by numerous World Bank monitored peer group review indicators, “the Council hereby passes a vote of immense confidence in Governor Umahi and believes that he is competent and imbued with the capacity to adequately address the economic political, security and socio-cultural challenges of Nigeria if elected the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in 2023.”

The Council enjoined all Ebonyi people to sustain their unflinching support for Governor Umahi as he works towards a peaceful and equitable political transition in the forthcoming general election in Ebonyi, advising them to remain calm and go about their normal businesses as nothing has happened to alter the existing political structure in the State.

The Council equally called on the various security agencies that have been working very hard in the State, with the support and encouragement of the Governor, to ensure that the peace, law and order that Ebonyi State is known for are not compromised by the nefarious activities of a few individuals on a failed political voyage while appreciating the role of the press in educating the public on the true position of the law and further enjoins both the mainstream and social media to avoid sensational and deceptive and reportage that may be capable of creating confusion in the polity.