Court restates Obasi Odefa as Ebonyi Deputy Speaker

An Abuja Federal High Court on Tuesday, restated Hon. Odefa Obasi Odefa, as a member and also the Deputy Speaker of Ebonyi State House of Assembly.

Two lawmakers, Ngozi Eziulo, representing Afikpo North East state constituency and Oliver Osi, representing Ivo state constituency, that their seats were also declared vacant were restored.

Ebonyi Assembly had last month declared the seats of Odefa and the two other lawmakers vacant. The House claimed that Odefa wrote a letter resigning his membership of the House an allegation Odefa denied.
While the seats of the two other lawmakers were declared vacant for their alleged resignation from their party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and defecting to the APC.The Lawmakers denied resigning their seats.

The House also swore Ogbonnaya Ikoro in as the new deputy speaker.

Not happy with the development, the lawmakers filed a motion ex parte dated 24th February, 2022 challenging the declaration of their seats vacant and the removal of Hon. Odefa as Deputy Speaker by the State House of Assembly last month.

The Ebonyi House of Assembly, the Speaker of the Assembly, the Clerk and Hon. Ikoro were joined in the suit as 5th to 8th respondents.

The court, presided over by Justice I. E. Ekwo, on receiving the motion ex parte, ordered a return to the status quo that existed prior to the decision of the house against Odefa and the two other lawmakers whose seats were declared vacant by the house.

It further barred the House of Assembly the Speaker, and the Clerk from carrying out any action that will affect the membership of the three lawmakers.

Other respondents include the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Attorney General of the Federation, Inspector General of Police and the Department of S tate Security as 1st to 4th respondents.

The Judge said: “An Interim Order of this Honourable Court restraining the defendants, especially the 5th to 8th defendants, ether by themselves, their servants, assigns or privies or otherwise howsoever from taking any other or further steps as it relates to the entire circumstances of this matter and or from disturbing the plaintiffs’ membership of Ebonyi State House of Assembly, pending the hearing and final determination of the motion on notice”

“An order of this Honourable Court directing parties in this suit to maintain the status quo ante bellum that existed on the 18th day of February 2022 pending the hearing and final determination of the motion on notice already pending before this Honourable Court”, Justice Ekwo further ordered.

The court ordered for substituted service on the 5th to 8th respondents and adjoined the matter to 16th March for hearing.

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