Appeal Court reserves judgment in Abia guber tussle

The Court of Appeal, Abuja Division, on Tuesday, reserved judgment in an appeal by the Abia State governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, challenging his removal from office by a Federal High Court in Abuja.

Ikpeazu, in his main appeal, urged the appellate court to set aside the judgment of the Federal High Court delivered on June 27, 2016  by Justice Okon Abang, which removed him from office.

The appeal, filed through his counsel, Chief Wole Olanipekun, claimed that the trial court erred in its conclusion when the PDP guidelines and tax receipts were not made by his client, but obtained from official quarters.

Olanipekun argued that Ikpeazu had always been a public servant and that it was unimaginable that the tax papers of a public officer would be queried the way the judge did.

He claimed that Justice Abang misinterpreted Section 31 of the Electoral Act, on the ground that there was no evidence before the court to that effect.

Olanipekun further said the trial court acted like a magician when it gave interpretation to the PDP guideline that was not before it and added that it was wrong of the judge to rely on mere disposition by the first respondent, Samson Ogah, in arriving at the final conclusion of his judgment.

He then urged the court to allow the appeal and set aside the decision of the lower court.

However, counsel for Ogah, Dr Alex Izinyon, said the judgment of the lower court was misconstrued by Governor Ikpeazu, because the issue of forgery was not before the trial court but that of supply of false information to obtain the nomination of the PDP to stand for the governorship poll in 2015.

He argued that the appellant did not dispute that the information he swore to before the commissioner for oat and made available to the PDP was forged and that the case of the appellant was compounded when one of his witnesses admitted error in the computation of the tax paid.