Abia guber crisis: Court insists Ogah remains gov-elect, refers motions to Appeal Court


9 Jul 2016

Abia guber crisis: Court insists Ogah remains gov-elect, refers motions to Appeal Court

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By Tony Edike

The legal battle for Abia State governor­ship seat continued at the Federal High Courts in Abuja and Owerri Friday.

While the Abuja court refused to stay action on its earlier ruling that Governor Okezie Ikpeazu should vacate for  Dr Sampson Uche Ogah on account of alleged tax certificate forgery, the Oweri court dismissed the tax forgery suit filed against Ikpeazu by a chieftain of the PDP in the state, Mr. Friday Nwosu.

The Federal High Court in Abuja, held that the Cer­tificate of Return issued to Dr. Uche Ogah as the governor-elect of the Peo­ples Democratic Party for Abia State was lawful.

This is even as the court also refused to set aside the interlocutory injunction re­straining the Chief judge of Abia State and other judi­cial officials from adminis­tering the oath of office on the governor-elect Dr. Sam­son Ogah.

Justice Okon Abang also refused to stay the execu­tion of his judgment.

But ruling on the appli­cation by the PDP, Justice Abang held that the judg­ment of the court remained valid until it is set aside by the Court of Appeal.

He accordingly, dis­missed the application brought by the PDP asking for the stay of execution of the judgment of the court, which ordered Governor Okezie Ikpeazu to vacate office on account of giving false information with re­gards to his tax documents.

Justice Okon Abang said the said application by the party constituted an abuse of court process because the PDP filed two motions on the same subject matter.

He said, though the appli­cant had sought and applied to withdraw the earlier ap­plication filed on June 28, 2016, issues had already been joined by counsel to Dr. Ogah. Alex Iziyon (SAN) via a counter affi­davit.

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Justice Abang further held that there was nothing for the court to stay as the judgment had already been executed by INEC.

“Judgment of the court has already been executed by the issuance of certifi­cate of return in favour of Dr. Ogah, therefore there is nothing to be stayed.

Besides, Justice Abang held that there was no evi­dence before the court that the certificate of return was issued to Ogah before ser­vice of the notice of appeal was served on INEC.

“INEC had also told the court that it had issued the certificate of return to Ogah before it received service of the notice of appeal.”

In his earlier ruling in the application by Gover­nor Ikpeazu, seeking a stay of execution of its judg­ment, Justice Abang ruled that the Federal High Court has jurisdiction to hear the motion for stay of execution of its own judgment.

He however added that the court in the instance case is refusing to take it because it will be presumed it had jumped into the arena as the judgment beneficiary coun­sel Dr. Alex Izinyon (SAN) had conceded to the judg­ment debtor, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN) submis­sion that the court lacked jurisdiction.

“It is my honoured view that I have jurisdiction to en­tertain the motion for stay of execution of the judgment.” Specifically, as the motion in question is on the “final judgment” of this court, Jus­tice Abang said.

He disagreed with Olani­pekun’s submission that the court should hands off all matters once an appeal has been entered. He said that a motion for a stay of court judgment, which is final de­cision, must be taken by the trial court.

Justice Abang said it was wrong for Ikpeazu to have filed stay of execution at the Court of Appeal without first filing such an applica­tion at the trial court.

On the interim injunctive order issued by the Abia State High Court that re­strained the swearing in of Ogah, Justice Abang said that “is absurd for a court that is not cease of the mat­ter to have issued order ob­structing the judgment ben­eficiary.”

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The judge also dismissed the motion filed by Gover­nor Ikpeazu who had sought an order of the court to va­cate the certificate of return issued to Ogah by the Inde­pendent National Electoral Commission.

Justice Abang said the motion lacked merit and awarded N40, 000 cost against Governor Ikpeazu whose led counsel Olanipe­kun attended to after issues have been joined.

Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), counsel to Governor Ikpeazu had asked Justice Abang to hands off the mat­ter on the grounds, inform­ing the court that an ap­peal has already been filed against the judgment asking Ikpeazu to vacate office.

While not opposing the submission of the coun­sel for the applicant, Alex Iziyon (SAN) counsel to Ogah however said the Court should rule on the ap­plication before it at the last hearing relating to abuse of court process.

In the same vein, the Federal High Court sitting in Owerri has dismissed the tax forgery suit filed against Ikpeazu by a chieftain of the PDP in the state, Mr. Friday Nwosu.

Delivering judgment on the suit, Justice L. A. Al­lagoa, who resolved other issues in favour of Nwosu, said that Ikpeazu was not the maker of the tax docu­ment.

He stressed that the Abia State Board of Internal Revenue, testified that the document emanated from them and was not forged.

The judge further ruled that Nwosu failed to prove the case of forgery against the governor.

Justice Allagoa also ruled that Uche Ogah who is the 4th respondent in the suit lost his right to benefit from the process as he re­fused to sign the result and petitioned the party to con­duct another exercise.

Reacting to the judg­ment, one of the counsels to Nwosu, Ajayi Ilesanmi, said the Court failed to consider issues before it and promised to appeal the verdict.

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Reacting to the judg­ments, Abia State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Chief Umeh Kalu, said the Federal High Court, Owerri, has affirmed that Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu remains the governor of the state, as he was duly elected. According to him, the court also ruled that the governor didn’t forge any tax certificate as alleged by the plaintiff, Sir F. N. Nwosu in his suit.

While the Federal High Court, Abuja, had on June 27, 2016, sacked Ikpeazu as the governor over tax mat­ter, the Federal High Court Owerri, yesterday affirmed that Ikpeazu remains the governor, as he didn’t forge any tax certificate.

Chief Kalu, said when courts of coordinate juris­diction make judgments, the latest takes precedence over the former, espe­cially when the parties are the same, like in this case, Uche Ogar is also a party in Nwosu’s suit.

On the Certificate of Re­turn Independent National Electoral Commission is­sued to Ogah, the Abia Jus­tice commissioner said it is of the use at the moment as the governor has appealed the judgment of Justice Okon Abang.

Also, Barr Monday Uba­ni, said all these illegalities playing out now and all these long holidays being given in Abia State would end by the decision of the court at the end of the day by the grace of God.

In the same vein, the Federal High Court sitting in Owerri has dismissed the tax forgery suit filed against Ikpeazu by a chieftain of the PDP in the state, Mr. Friday Nwosu.

Delivering judgment on the suit, Justice L. A. Al­lagoa, who resolved other issues in favour of Nwosu, said that Ikpeazu was not the maker of the tax docu­ment.

He stressed that the Abia State Board of Internal Revenue, testified that the document emanated from them and was not forged.

The judge further ruled that Nwosu failed to prove the case of forgery against the governor.

Justice Allagoa also ruled that Uche Ogah who is the 4th respondent in the suit lost his right to benefit from the process as he re­fused to sign the result and petitioned the party to con­duct another exercise.

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Reacting to the judg­ment, one of the counsels to Nwosu, Ajayi Ilesanmi, said the Court failed to consider issues before it and promised to appeal the verdict.

Reacting to the judg­ments, Abia State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Chief Umeh Kalu, said the Federal High Court, Owerri, has affirmed that Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu remains the governor of the state, as he was duly elected.

According to him, the court also ruled that the governor didn’t forge any tax certificate as alleged by the plaintiff, Sir F. N. Nwosu in his suit.

While the Federal High Court, Abuja, had on June 27, 2016, sacked Ikpeazu as the governor over tax mat­ter, the Federal High Court Owerri, yesterday affirmed that Ikpeazu remains the governor, as he didn’t forge any tax certificate.

Chief Kalu, said when courts of coordinate juris­diction make judgments, the latest takes precedence over the former, espe­cially when the parties are the same, like in this case, Uche Ogah is also a party in Nwosu’s suit.

On the Certificate of Re­turn Independent National Electoral Commission is­sued to Ogah, the Abia Jus­tice commissioner said it is of no use at the moment as the governor has appealed the judgment of Justice Okon Abang.

Also, Barr Monday Uba­ni, said all these illegalities playing out now and all these long holidays being given in Abia State would end by the decision of the court at the end of the day by the grace of God.

Ubani said: “An order, which I would call a village injunction, was obtained earlier when they saw that there was no order of stay. Now when it became clear to them again yesterday that there is no order for stay, they went ahead to extend that par­ticular interim order. That is an absurdity in the high­est order. There is no way it is done.

“You don’t extend an ex­parte order when you have not given the other party notice. What you do is to give a return day when you will now hear the motion on notice for the injunction.

“Here, there is no return day. Under what rules of the High Court of Abia State would the man have extended the exparte order because there must be rules. There are so many things wrong with that particu­lar order in the first place. Because it is a court of co­ordinate jurisdiction, and it cannot overrule a court of competent jurisdiction. Everything about that in­terim order is wrong. Now the man has gone ahead to extend that illegal order the more.

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“The governor in wait­ing is a law abiding citizen and he has said it that he is not desperate to be gover­nor because he is coming to serve. So we will use all judicial and legal means to actualize his being sworn in as governor of Abia State.

“We won’t take laws into our hands or cause chaos or crisis for our state. We will allow things to be done le­gally, so people would know that we are coming there to really serve the people and not to destroy Abia State.”

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News Source: THEADVOCATE, 9jaTales

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