The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it has suspended action on the court judgment ordering the sack of David Umahi and Eric Igwe, governor and deputy governor of Ebonyi, respectively.

The commission, in a statement issued on Thursday, said the decision will also affect the court ruling sacking 16 members of the Ebonyi state house of assembly.

Earlier in March, Umahi, Igwe, and the Ebonyi lawmakers were asked to vacate their positions over their defection from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC).

The court had also ordered the PDP to submit to INEC, names of candidates to replace the affected persons, or in the alternative, the electoral body should conduct fresh elections to fill the positions within 90 days.

However, the governor, deputy governor and the state assembly members have appealed the rulings.

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According to the statement signed by Festus Okoye, chairman of INEC’s information and voter education committee, the electoral body took the decision after a meeting on Thursday.

The commission said it has received a total of 12 court rulings on the matter, adding that it will stay action pending the outcome of the appeals.

“It will be recalled that the commission met on Thursday, March 17, on the matter, decided to defer its deliberation on the Ebonyi cases,” the statement reads.

“The commission stepped down the listed memorandum to enable its legal services and clearance committee to study the new processes served on it in the light of the previously served ones and advise the commission comprehensively.

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“Since then, the commission has been served yet more court processes on the same matter, bringing the total to 12.

“The commission deliberated extensively on these cases and decided to further suspend action on the defection of the governor and deputy governor of Ebonyi State and sixteen members of the state house of assembly from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC), in the light of conflicting court judgments and court orders served on it from courts of coordinate jurisdictions.

“The commission also considers it prudent to stay action on the conflicting judgements and orders being aware of the pendency of appeals and motions for stay of execution of some of the judgements before various divisions of the court of appeal.”

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