Abia Governorship Tussle Moves To Supreme Court

Abia State Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu
Abia State Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu

The Supreme Court in Abuja on Tuesday commenced hearing of motions brought before it regarding the Abia State governorship tussle.

Samson Ogah, had approached the apex court after the appeal court nullified the June 27 judgement of a Federal High Court in Abuja, which declared him governor of the state.

Justice Okon Abang, on June 27 this year, ruled that Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, was not qualified to have run for the post of governor, having presented fake tax papers during his screening by the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.

The Judge also ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to issue Ogah a certificate of return, being the runner up to Ikpeazu in the PDP governorship primary election in 2014.

But a five-man panel of justices, led by Justice Morenike Ogunwumiju, on August 18, nullified the decision of the lower court; saying that Justice Abang’s ruling was a rape of democracy.

Ogah consequently approached the Supreme court, asking it to set aside the decision of the appeal court and affirm him as Governor of Abia State.

Three motions were heard at the commencement of the hearing at the Supreme Court on Tuesday, including one from Alex Oti, the candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, in the governorship election.

Oti sought the leave of the court to be joined in the matter, an application that was opposed by Wale Olanikpekun and Alex Iziyon, Counsel to Ikpeazu and Ogah, respectively.






     

     

    They argued that a similar application was turned down at the lower court and neither Oti nor his counsel appealed the decision when they had the opportunity to do so.

    The seven-member-panel of Supreme Court Justices led by Mahmud Tanko took note of the points but decided to allow Oti’s counsel, Patrick Ekueto, to submit his application, saying a decision would be taken afterwards.

    After adopting the motions, the court adjourned to allow parties file their brief of arguments.

    Mr. Tanko said a date would be communicated to the parties for hearing on the substantive applications.

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