Ap­peal Court says Ik­peazu re­mains Abia gover­nor for now

Daily Trust - - INSIDE POLITICS - By Ade­lanwa Bamg­boye, John Chuks Azu (Abuja) & Li­nus Ef­fiong (Umuahia)

The Court of Ap­peal sit­ting in Abuja has said that Dr. Okezie Ik­peazu of Abia State should re­tain his seat pend­ing the time the court will hear his ap­peal chal­leng­ing the judg­ment of a Fed­eral High Court which re­moved him from of­fice.

Jus­tice Morenikeji Ogun­wu­miju, who presided over a five-mem­ber panel of judges, said the par­ties in the mat­ter must “re­main as they were” be­fore the case got to the court.

How­ever, she said the rul­ing did not mean a stay of - ex­e­cu­tion or­der.

A Fed­eral High Court had on June 27 nul­li­fied Ik­peazu’s elec­tion af­ter hold­ing that he sub­mit­ted false in­for­ma­tion re­gard­ing his tax clear­ance cer­tifi­cate.

Jus­tice Okon Abang also or­dered the In­de­pen­dent National Elec­toral Com­mis­sion (INEC) to is­sue Sam­son Ogah a cer­tifi­cate of re­turn.

At the hear­ing of the ap­peal, yes­ter­day, Dr Alex Izinyon, SAN, who rep­re­sented Ogah, ar­gued that Ik­peazu was not legally the de-facto oc­cu­pant of the Abia State Gov­ern­ment House, saying there were con­flict­ing judg­ments on the mat­ter.

Izinyon also protested the or­der of the court that par­ties should main­tain their po­si­tions.

This protest made the court to ask him who is the de-facto oc­cu­pier of the Abia gov­ern­ment house.

Izinyon said he would not an­swer the ques­tion be­cause to an­swer it would im­ply that he had con­ceded.

How­ever, Jus­tice Ogun­wu­miju, said the court con­sid­ered it im­por­tant to avoid a mis­in­ter­pre­ta­tion of its rul­ing.

She said the rul­ing of the court was for par­ties to re­main as they were should not be mis­con­strued as im­ply­ing that the court has is­sued an or­der for stay of ex­e­cu­tion.

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