© 2018 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
Ikpeazu wins first appeal in Abia Governorship Tussle
Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State has won the first appeal with regards to the judgments of the Federal High Court in Abuja June 27 which ordered that he be removed from office.
The judgment was delivered by a five-man panel of justices led by Justice Helen Ogunwumiju of the Court of Appeal, Abuja.
Ikpeazu had appealed the ruling delivered by Justice Okon Abang of the Abuja Federal High Court on July 8 in which the judge insisted that he had jurisdiction to hear a motion for stay of execution of his earlier judgments delivered on June 27 even after appeals against the judgments had been entered.
The panel of appeal court Justices unanimously agreed in their judgment that Justice Abang erroneously assumed jurisdiction to hear the motion and adjourned it till a later date.
Justice Philomina Ekpe, who read out the lead judgment, said that what Justice Abang ought to have done was to have transferred the motion to the Court of Appeal for determination.
She also said that Abang wrongly interpreted the provisions of Order 4(10) and (11) of the Court of Appeal rules when he held that the said provisions were only applicable to an interlocutory ruling of the lower court and when a final judgment in a suit had been delivered.
She also held that Justice Abang lacked jurisdictions to interpret the provisions of the Court of Appeal being the rules of a superior court.
Justice Abang on June 27 had ruled that Ikpeazu was not the legitimate governor of Abia State, having tendered fake tax documents during the screening for the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, primary election in 2014.
He ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to withdraw the certificate of return issued to Ikpeazu and issue same to Uche Ogah, the runner up in the PDP governorship primary.
Abang also ordered the Abia State chief judge to immediately swear-in Ogar as the substantive governor of the State.
A series of court cases had ensued ever since, the latest of which is the appeal court judgment today in Abuja.