The Supreme Court, Friday morning, affirmed Okezie Ikpeazu as the Governor of Abia State. The case was filed by Uche Ogah who had accused Ikpeazu of allegedly submitting false tax information to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Ikpeazu defeated Ogah in the Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP, primaries ahead of the 2015 gubernatorial election in the state.
Justice Okon Abang of a Federal High Court in Abuja had on June 27, 2016 sacked Ikpeazu from office as governor of Abia State, after the court found him guilty of tax offences. Abang ordered Ikpeazu to vacate office for Ogah, who challenged Ikpeazu’s eligibility to contest the 2015 governorship election as the flag bearer of the PDP.
Following the judgment and order for the immediate inauguration of Ogah as Abia governor, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, issued him with the Certificate of Return.
But in another judgement in August, 2016, the Court of Appeal affirmed the election of Ikpeazu and quashed the judgment of Justice Abang. The Court of Appeal described the ruling by Justice Abang as a rape of democracy, and ordered Ikpeazu to retain his office.
Subsequently, Ogah approached the Supreme Court where he prayed that the High Court judgement should be upheld. In a judgement by the apex court, it faulted the judgement of the High Court, even as it awarded the sum of N250,000 against Ogah.
Meanwhile, in a reaction, Governor Ikpeazu, has dedicated his victory to the people of Abia state, who he said stood by him all through the period of litigations.
In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Enyinnaya Appolos, Governor Ikpeazu stated that the victory is a re-affirmation of the mandate given to him by the people, and now twice confirmed by the Supreme Court.
He stressed that only God will take glory for the victory, and commended the judiciary for standing firm on the side of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Governor Ikpeazu wishes to call on all Abians to join hands with him to ensure accelerated growth and development of the state.
According to him; “the time for politics is long over, and I have forgiven all those that were bent on distracting me. Let all well meaning Abians, including my opponents, come and join us to grow and develop our state without distractions as we ultimately have stakes in the growth and development of our state and people
“Today, there is the work of Abia to do and history will judge us by how much of that work we do, not by how much politics we play. My doors are open to all, my ears are open to hear and my eyes are strong enough to read suggestions on how we can best deliver greater dividends to those who really matter: the great people of Abia State.”
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