Abia State Governorship Crisis : AFHC Sack Governor Ikpeazu
Abuja Federal High Court Sack Governor Ikpeazu – Abia State
Abia State governorship crisis turned dramatic yesterday as two divisions of the same court gave conflicting orders on the fate of the embattled Governor Okezie Ikpeazu. While a Federal High Court Abuja which had on June 27 sacked the governor from office held that he remained sacked until a higher court decides otherwise, another Federal High Court sitting in Owerri, Imo state ruled that Ikpeazu was validly elected and he therefore remains the governor. Interestingly, both courts relied on the same tax receipts presented before them by Governor Ikpeazu which was alleged to have been forged. Federal High Court, Abuja Justice Okon Abang and Governor Okezie Ikpeazu Justice Okon Abang and Governor Okezie Ikpeazu At the resumed hearing yesterday of the suit challenging Ikpeazu’s eligibility to contest the primaries of the Peoples’ Democratic Pary, PDP filed by Mr Uche Ogah, Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court in Abuja, declined to hear an application for stay of execution of the June 27 judgment that sacked Governor Okezie Ikpeazu from office. The Judge said he no longer had jurisdiction to decide Ikpeazu’s application for stay of execution since the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal is already seized with facts of the case. Consequently, he directed both Ikpeazu and the beneficiary of the judgment, Mr. Uche Ogah, to go to the appellate court for the resolution of the governorship logjam in Abia State. Justice Okon Abang had on Monday, adjourned to hear the motion as well as to decide whether or not he has the powers to set aside the ex-parte order by a High Court in Abia State that stopped the Chief Judge of the state from swearing in Mr. Ogah as governor. More so, Justice Abang said he would also decide the merit of an oral application by Ikpeazu’s lead counsel, Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN, for it to set aside the Certificate of Return the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, issued to Ogah. The Judge was to also determine whether the provisions of Section 143(1) of the Electoral Act applied to the judgment he delivered against Ikpeazu on June 27.