A Federal High Court sitting in Uyo Tuesday has affirmed the sack of Mr Gabriel Toby, member representing Etim Ekpo/Ika state constituency in the Akwa Ibom state House of Assembly.
The court presided over by Justice Fatun Riman ruled that the lawmaker lost his seat, having defected from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that sponsored him to office to the All Progressives Congress (APC) last year.
The court also granted all the prayers sought by the respondents, the Speaker of the House of Assembly, Barrister Onofiok Luke, who was represented by Barrister Ekemini Udim and Barrister Ini Ememobong, and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) represented by Barrister Godswill Umoh.
Speaking shortly after the ruling, the counsel to the PDP Umoh said the court relied on Section 109 of the constitution which gives two grounds warranting defection by a lawmaker to include division in a party and where a merger is reached.
Umoh said none of the scenarios played out last November when the complaint defected to the APC, and lauded the judgment of the court.
“We are awaiting the judgment on the remaining similar cases, but for Gabriel Toby and Idongesit Ituen (who had earlier received a similar judgement), this is a final judgment as far as this case is concerned. The court has declared their defection as unacceptable in totality and as such was wrong”
“The court says their defection was illegal and that means automatically they had lost their seats the day they defected. It is a simple interpretation of what the constitution says in Section 109.