- Jubilation in Abakaliki, Umuahia over court verdict
Abia State governor, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu yesterday filed an appeal against Monday’s judgment of a Federal High Court in Abuja, which removed him from office as governor.
In the notice of appeal filed by Chief Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN), the governor raised five grounds of appeal upon which he asked the Court of Appeal to set aside the judgment and orders of the high court.
Likewise, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has appealed the judgment.
In a notice of appeal dated June 28, 2016, PDP expressed dissatisfaction with the judgment of the high court which removed the governor and ordered Uche Ogah as its rightful candidate for the governorship election that held in Abia State in April 2015.
This is as there was jubilation in Ebonyi and Abia over the high court verdict that sacked the governor.
In his appeal, the governor said that the Federal High Court lacked the power to order him to vacate the seat as Abia State governor.
The notice of appeal read: “The trial judge erred in law when he ordered as a consequential order that the appellant vacates his office as the governor of Abia State immediately when there was no jurisdiction in the Federal High Court to remove, vacate the occupier of the office of the governor of a state or order the removal of such
officer after the unsuccessful challenge of the result of the election at the Tribunal and swearing in of the appellant as the governor.”
The governor said that the only power, authority and order exercisable by the Federal High Court was to disqualify the candidate from contesting the election based on section 31(6) of the Electoral Act 2010.
Ikepazu also faulted the judge when he held that he did not pay his tax for the years 2011, 2012 and 2013 as when due, when he was a public officer whose tax deduction was under Pay As You Earn, PAYE, scheme where tax deductions were from the source of his monthly salary by the tax authorities which issued all the tax receipts and certificates.
He also said that the Abia State Board of Internal Revenue Services that issued him with the tax certificates had not declared the certificates forged, and that the trial court did not invite the issuing authorities to give evidence in the course of the trial.
Ikpeazu said that the plaintiff, Dr Samson Udechukwu Ogah was not a staff of the Abia Board of Internal Revenue and did not bring any staff of the board to testify that the tax certificates were forged.
He accused the trial judge, Justice Okon Abang, of violating his right to fair hearing by embarking on judicial investigation without giving him (Ikpeazu) the opportunity to address the court on the issue.
PDP appeals Ikpeazu’s removal
The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, on its part yesterday threw its weight behind Ikpeazu by lodging an appeal against the judgment of the FCT Federal High Court which sacked the governor for presenting “false” tax information.
The party in the notice of appeal dated June 28, 2016, expressed dissatisfaction with the judgment of the high court which affirmed Uche Ogah as PDPs rightful candidate for the 2015 governorship election for Abia State.
In the appeal premised on five grounds, the PDP said that the trial court erred in law when it held that it had jurisdiction to hear the suit which was on whether section 24 (f) of the 1999 Constitution was complied with.
Jubilation in Abakaliki, Umuahia as court sacks Abia Gov Ikpeazu
Meanwhile, there was wide Jubilation in the cities of Abakaliki and some parts of Abia state following the court ruling by a Federal High Court in Abuja last Monday which ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to immediately issue a Certificate of Return to Mr. Uche Oga who came second in the People’s Democratic Party, PDP governorship primaries in Abia State.
Hundreds of indigenes of Isiukwuato Community in Abakaliki on hearing the news took to the streets chanting solidarity songs in support of the ruling by the court.
Mr. Philip Egwu,the leader of the group described the judgment as victory for democracy and commended the judiciary for living up to its responsibility noting that Mr. Uche Ogah would not just transform Abia State but would also use his wealth of experience to rebuild the state and make it a destination point for investors.