While a Federal High Court sitting in Owerri today dismissed the tax forgery suit filed against Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia stateby a chieftain of the PDP in the state, Friday Nwosu, based on his inability to prove that the tax documents were forged (read here if you missed), another Federal court sitting in Abuja affirmed in two separately rulings today that the certificate of return issued to Uche Ogah by the Independent National Electoral Commission allowing him to be sworn in as Governor of Abia State, was valid.
According to The Punch, Justice OkonAbang ruled that the two separate judgments delivered on June 27, removing OnyechiIkpeazu as Governor of Abia State and ordering Ogah to be sworn in his stead could no longer be stayed since the Independent National Electoral Commission had already issued fresh certificate of return to Ogah.
He ruled that the judgment removing Ikpeazu remained valid until it is set aside by the Court of Appeal.
“The order of the court subsists until set aside by the Court of Appeal.
“Therefore, the INEC lawfully issued Certificate of Return to Dr. Sampson Ikpeazu as it was in line with the judgment of this court,” the judge ruled.
While the court refused to hear Ikpeazu’s motion for stay of execution of the judgment with respect to the case numbered FHC/ABJ/CS/71/2016 which was personally filed by Ogah, the court dismissed a similar motion filed by the embattled governor and the PDP with respect to the suit, numbered FHC/ABJ/CS/1086/2014.
In the first case, the judge ruled that he could not hear the motion for stay of execution since lawyers to the opposing parties (Ogah and Ikpeazu) had both submitted that the court no longer had jurisdiction to hear it because the appeal against the court’s judgment had been entered and appeal number issued. It also dismissed the motion for stay of execution filed by Ikpeazu with respect to the judgment on the case filed by Eleagbara, on the grounds that it lacked merit.
Following this, Ikpeazu’s lawyer Chief WoleOlanipekun (SAN) sought to withdraw the application after the judge refused his request an adjournment of the hearing on the motion. The judge however held that the prayer for its withdrawal was belated since Ogah’s lawyer, Alex Izinyon (SAN) had been made to file a counter-affidavit opposing it.
He held that since issues had been joined, the motion for stay of execution was deemed to have been heard regardless of whether it was formally moved in the open court.
The court also held that there was nothing to be stayed since INEC had issued Certificate of Return to Ogah.
Written by Olufunke Edidi
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