More trouble for Akpabio, Nsima as court sacks lawmaker for defecting to APC, another sacked lawmaker applauds ruling 

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A Federal High Court sitting in Uyo 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 People’s 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, Barr. Onofiok Luke who was represented by Barr. Ekemini Udim and Barr Ini Ememobong and the Peoples Democratic Party, represented by Barr. Godswill Umoh.

Speaking shortly after the ruling, the counsel to the PDP Barr. 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.

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Umoh said, none of the scenerios 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 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”

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One of the sacked lawmakers of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Mr Victor Udofia who has a similar case coming up for ruling soon, has applauded the judgment of the federal High Court upholding the sack of his colleague Mr Gabriel Toby from the Assembly.

Interacting with newsmen at the Uyo Federal High Court premises, Mr Udofia described the judgement as a ‘win-win’ situation saying the? judge was fair in his ruling. 

“We knew the process and we know the consequences, once you cross carpet from the Political party. Even the Bible says you must know the truth and the truth shall set you free. 

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“For the Judgment today, honestly there was no compromise, the judge did what the law says and for me, I am satisfied” Udofia said. 

On his judgment coming up next Monday, Udofia maintained that, “from all indications the Judge is not biased and the ruling that will come on that day will not be different from what has happened today.

“But to be honest with you, it is a win-win situation for both parties” 

He however said the speaker ought to have waited for the court to make pronouncements on the vacation of the seats rather “taking laws into his own hands” 

Mr Udofia who said he had a future outside politics urged Akwa Ibom  people to learn to play politics devoid of bitterness and learn to relate as brothers irrespective of parry leanings.

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