The 20 sacked members of the Cross River State House of Assembly who defected from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC), have appealed a Federal High Court ruling which removed them from office.
SaharaReporters obtained the court documents where the counsel to the legislators, Chief Mike Ozekhome, filed a Notice of Appeal and a motion for stay of execution.
“We took these immediate steps notwithstanding the legal position that by virtue of section 25( a) of the Court of Appeal Act , 2013 ,the legislators are legally entitled to 90 days, within which to file their appeal.
Aware that a notice of appeal does not automatically act as a stay of execution, we also simultaneously took steps to immediately file a motion for stay of execution. We have duly served all counsel to the respondents,”Ozekhome said on Monday night.
The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja had sacked the 20 members of the Cross River State House of Assembly who defected from the PDP to the APC.
Ben Ayade, the state governor had in 2021 left the PDP and joined the APC. The lawmakers in June 2021 joined Ayade to move over to the APC.
The court in a judgement that was delivered by Justice Taiwo Taiwo, on Monday, held that the legislators could not transfer the mandate they received from the ballot to another political party after abandoning the political party that had sponsored them.
The judgement followed a suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/975/2021, which was filed by the PDP.
Speaking further, the counsel to the embattled lawmakers, Ozekhome said, “It has become necessary to emphasise to members of the public that the legislators' right of appeal which has accrued is a constitutional right which is not exhausted until the final court of the land (the Supreme Court) pronounces upon the subject matter of appeal. This is to douse the rumours currently making the rounds that by the Federal High
Court judgment, the legislators have automatically lost their seats and can no longer therefore sit or conduct normal legislative business in the House of Assembly. This is completely false.
“Even the judgement of the Federal High Court specifically affirmed the alternative relief of the INEC conducting election WITHIN 90 DAYS into the offices. As we await the date of hearing of our motion for stay of execution and the hearing and final determination of the Appeal already duly filled, today ( 21st March, 2022), the legislators are legally and constitutionally empowered to continue to sit in their Chamber and carry out their normal legislative business in the best interest of their teaming constituents.”