Ikpeazu Is No More Abia Governor, Court Insist
The Federal High Court in Abuja, yesterday, dismissed as lacking in merit an application seeking to set aside the enrolled order of the judgment that sacked Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State from office.
The court, in a ruling by Justice Okon Abang, maintained that all the orders contained in the judgment it delivered against Ikpeazu on June 27 subsist until they were set aside by the appellate court.
Justice Abang gave the ruling on a day the embattled governor, through his team of four Senior Advocates of Nigeria, led by Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN, applied for an order restraining the beneficiary of the verdict, Mr. Uche Ogah, and the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, from executing the judgment.
The judge had, in his judgment, ordered Ikpeazu to vacate his office, even as he directed INEC to immediately issue a fresh certificate of return to Ogah, who came second in the governorship primary election of the PDP.
Although INEC had since issued certificate of return to Ogah, another court in Abia State had restrained the Chief Judge from swearing him in.
In his ruling, Justice Abang refused to set aside the order containing the judgment against Ikpeazu, even as he adjourned hearing on the motion for stay of execution till Thursday.
The judge said he would on that day also decide on an application by Ogah seeking to set aside the restraining order of the High Court in Abia State, as well as an application asking him to set aside the certificate of return INEC issued to Ogah.
Justice Abang held that the enrolment order against Ikpeazu was properly signed and issued. The judge said though section 294 of the constitution allowed the court to get the judgment ready within seven days, he said the registry ensured it was available in four days, owing to pressure from Ikpeazu.
He said: “I had jurisdiction to sign the enrolment order as at the time I did so. The court cannot order a sitting governor to vacate his office just for fun. We are here to settle dispute and I am not afraid to take decision.
“Therefore, those going to the media to misinterpret the decision of the court when they have not even taken out time to study the 131-page judgment should take caution.”