I am governor… your delay tactics won’t work, Ogah tells Ikpeazu
Uche Ogah, rival of Okezie Ikpeazu, governor of Abia state, says he is the constitutionally recognised chief executive officer of the state.
Accusing Ikpeazu of employing some tactics to delay him, Ogah said he might be forced to explore some other alternatives if the chief judge of the state refuses to swear him in.
On Monday, Okon Abang, a justice of the federal high court, Abuja, ordered Ikpeazu to vacate office.
The judge also asked the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to issue the certificate of return to Ogah, a directive that INEC has complied with.
But the judge has not sworn him in, prompting the rumours that she had gone underground.
However, in a statement issued on Saturday, Theresa Uzokwe, the judge debunked the rumours, but refused to comment on the court order.
Addressing reporters in Lagos during the weekend, Ogah said Ikpeazu has been employing “delay tactics”, but that would not stop his emergence.
“The entire world is watching the delay tactics of Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu… in the fullness of time Dr. Uche Ogah would be sworn in as the executive governor of Abia State, because the chief judge is not going to remain in hiding forever,” said Monday Ubani, counsel to Ogah.
“If the chief jJudge continues to hide, we would explore other available alternatives to ensure that the right thing is done, which is swearing in Dr. Ogah as the executive governor of the Abia state.
“Ogah was manipulated out of the primary because the irregularities of that primary was glaring for all to see. Before we could start the primary, the delegates that were not supposed to be there were already inside the stadium. That irregularity produced Ikpeazu as the PDP candidate.
“But that was not the issue. The main issue all started when we sought to look at the documents presented by Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu which is a requirement of the law. The law says if you want to contest an election you must file in an affidavit, fill a form, disclose your educational qualification, your birth certificate and your tax papers.
“Now, the issue of tax is very critical. It is a constitutional requirement that if you want to contest an election in any political party you must have paid your tax for three years as at when due.”
Ubani commended INEC for issuing the certificate of return to Ogah, saying that act brought the tenure of Ikpeazu to an end.
He faulted the public holiday declared by Ikpeazu, accusing him of playing politics with the death of Ojo Maduekwe, former minister of foreign affairs.
“I must say that INEC’s action was very historical and good for the development of our laws and judicial system. For the first time obeyed our laws and issued Dr. Uche Ogah certificate of return. Dr. Ogah was supposed to be sworn in immediately as the courts have ordered, in the absence of any contrary order,” he said.
“But he got to Umuahia and discovered that the chief judge of the state and the president in charge of the customary court of appeal in Umuahia have disappeared or may be kidnapped or may be went into hiding.
“This gave them the opportunity to obtain a black market injunction in a nearby court in Umuahia. But the fact is that order can’t stand, because it is a court of coordinate jurisdiction with the Abuja federal high court. The order is nullity. The only court that can reverse the decision of the Abuja high court is a higher court and not one with a coordinate jurisdiction; one that shares the same power with the Federal high court in Abuja.
“So, in the absence of any stay of execution to the ruling of the Abuja High Court, Dr. Sampson Uche Ogah (OON) today, is the governor of Abia State. When INEC issued him that certificate of return, the implication is that the earlier one you have issued has been cancelled. So, Ikpeazu is sitting there illegally. He has no right to declare public holidays.
“The whole world is taking note that our efforts are being frustrated and all these would be tested in court in time to come. How can Ikpeazu declare public holiday to mourn Chief Ojo Maduekwe when the time table for his funeral is not yet announced. He declared a public holiday for someone who is not even a former governor of the state. That means if a former governor dies, he may declare one year holiday for mourning. The entire world is watching, the justices are watching how they are frustrating us with delay tactics.”