Owerri court okays Ikpeazu as Abia gov

Dr Okezie Ikpeazu

•Ogah’s Certificate of Return lawful —Abuja court

A Federal High Court sitting in Owerri  on Friday dismissed a suit filed by Chief Friday Nwosu, seeking to remove Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State for allegedly presenting forged tax certificate to his party.

Nwosu, a governorship aspirant on  the platform of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the December 8, 2014 primary, approached the court requesting that he be declared Abia State governor on the grounds that Ikpeazu was not qualified to represent PDP in the 2015 election in Abia.

Delivering judgment on the suit, the presiding justice, Lewis Allagoa, pointed out that the plaintiff, through his counsel failed to justify his claim that the tax certificate submitted by Ikpeazu was forged.

He noted that aside looking at documents in litigation, proving a forged matter requires adequate clarification on the issue and addition proof by experts before a forgery claim can be established by law of the land.

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

The court maintained that since the issuing authority (Abia State Board of Internal Revenue) was not joined in the suit 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, noting ‘Ogah  is not eligible to enjoy the outcome of the PDP primary because he rejected the result of the primary.’

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

Meanwhile, Justice Okong Abang of a Federal High Court in Abuja on Friday held that the Certificate of Return issued to Samson Ogah by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was lawfully carried in compliance with the judgment of the court.

Justice Abang, in the rulings he delivered yesterday dismissed the application brought by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) seeking for the stay of execution of his judgment which ordered governor Okezie Ikpeazu to vacate office on account of giving false tax information.

The Judge, who disclosed the application for stay of action on the judgment of the court, said the said application constituted an abuse of court process because the PDP filed two motions on the same subject matter.

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

Besides, the Court held that there was nothing before the court to stay execution as the judgment had already been executed by the electoral body.

“Judgment of the court had already been executed by the issuance of the Certificate of Return in favour of Dr. Samson Ogah, therefore there is nothing to be stayed”.

Justice Abang further held that there is 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.