Umahi, on Wednesday, said he had engaged the services of no fewer than 18 SANs.
The governor also denied attacking the judiciary, pointing out that the lawyers of the PDP did the ‘hatchet job’, and not Justice Ekwo.
Umahi stated this, in Abakaliki, during a solidarity rally in his support, on Wednesday.
“There is no need to entertain any fear. Go about your business very peacefully and let me assure the NBA Chairman that he is a perfect gentleman and that we will never insult the judiciary, we have confidence in the judiciary and I know they will do the right thing and we have engaged eight SANs to proceed to Abuja, we have engaged 10 SANs to produce to Enugu,” Umahi stated.
Meanwhile Umahi and Igwe, have appealed the judgment of the Federal High Court.
In the notice of appeal dated March 9, and filed by Chukwuma Machukwu Ume (SAN), at the Court of Appeal Abuja, the appellants asked the court to set aside the judgment.
The appeal was predicated on 11 grounds.
The 16 All Progressives Congress members of the state House of Assembly who were also sacked on Tuesday by a judgment of the FHC Abuja presided over Justice Inyang Ekwo, also asked the appellate court to set aside the judgment.
In the first ground of their appeal, Umahi and Igwe contended that Ekwo erred in law and misdirected himself when he held that “I have not seen any authority which propounds that where a governor or deputy governor defects, his political party on which platform he was elected into office, he cannot be sued by that political party to reclaim its mandate…Section 308 of the 1999 Constitution did not envisage such a situation.”
The appellants submitted that the trial court set aside the Supreme Court’s decision in “AG Federation v. Atiku Abubakar & 3 ORS (2007) LCN/3799(SC) to the effect that there is no constitutional provision prohibiting President or vice and invariably the governor and or deputy governor from defecting to another political party or meting out punishment for doing same.”
“The trial court was also virtually setting aside the decision of the Supreme Court in Global Excellence Communications Ltd v. Duke (2007) LPELR — 1323 to the effect that state governors and their deputies have immunity against being sued while in office”, the appellants argued.
The appellants maintained that there is no section of the 1999 constitution (as amended) that provides for their removal as governor and deputy governor respectively for reason of defection.
Among other grounds, the appellants argued that the lower court erred in law when it assumed jurisdiction on issue of defection of appellants when it had no jurisdiction over same.
The error, according to Umahi and Igwe, was that the trial court’s interpretation of what amounts to the Federal High Court having the powers of State High Court under the constitution was wrong.
The appellants argued that they were state officers and not federal officers.
The appellants also faulted Justice Ekwo for relying on Sections 68 and 109 of the Constitution in holding that having defected from the PDP to the APC, they have offended the provisions of the Constitution and must vacate their offices.