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Abia governorship tussle: Court dismisses Nwosu’s suit against Gov. Ikpeazu

Ikpeazu, left and Ogah

A Federal High Court sitting in Owerri on Friday dismissed the suit filed by Chief Friday Nwosu, seeking to remove Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia.

Nwosu, a PDP gubernatorial aspirant during the Dec.8, 2014 primaries, had approached the court requesting that he be declared Abia governor.

He contended that this was because Ikpeazu was not qualified to representing Peoples Democratic Party during 2015 election.

He averred that the governor should be removed for allegedly presenting forged tax certificate to his party.

In his judgment on Friday, the judge, Justice Lewis Allagoa, held that the plaintiff failed to justify his claim that the tax certificate submitted by Ikpeazu was forged.

Allagoa noted that aside looking at documents in litigation, proving a forged matter required adequate clarification and additional proof by experts before a forgery claim could be established in law.

On the claim that Ikpeazu was not properly taxed in the year 2011, the court noted that it was not the position of Ikpeazu, but that of the tax official to determine how he could be taxed.

He said that since the issuing authority (Abia State Board of Internal Revenue) was neither joined nor an expert engaged to ascertain the authenticity of the document, it would be unlawful for the court to rule in favour of the plaintiff.

On the third relief sought seeking to dismiss the claim to the governorship position by Dr Uche Ogah, the court ruled in favour of the plaintiff.

The judge held that “Ogah is not eligible to enjoy the outcome of the PDP primaries because he rejected the result of the primaries.’’

Allagoa had earlier ruled in favour of Nwosu on two other grounds; that the originating summons filed was properly filed and that the Federal High Court had jurisdiction to hear the pre-election suit.

Reacting to the judgment, Dr Livy Uzoukwu (SAN), J.T.U. Nnodum and Theo Nkire, who represented the INEC, PDP and Ikpeazu, respectively, said that the judgment was a landmark.

Nkire, specifically commended the Justice for his industry in reviewing all issues raised by parties and at the end gave a sound judgment that would be hard to fault elsewhere.

Mr Francis Unyimadu, the plaintiff counsel, also thanked the court for the judgment, and added that his client would critically look at the judgment to determine what next to do.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that supporters of Ikpeazu, who attended the court in their uniforms, danced and sang songs of thanksgiving for the victory which they said, had adequately addressed the recent distractions to Ikpeazu.