Features

Ikpeazu VS Ogah: Who truly is Abia governor?

By

on

The ongoing power tussle between Abia State governor, Okezie Ikpeazu and a claimant to the seat, Dr Uche Ogah, has without doubt, left the citizens of the state in avalanche of confusions, as they are yet to really come to term with who their governor truly is among the duo.

Presently, both Ikpeazu and Ogah are at the the Supreme Court, seeking to know who between the them is the authentic governor of the state.

The Independent National Electoral Commission had last year issued a Certificate of Return to Ogah as the validly elected governor of the state, following the ruling of an Abuja Federal High Court, presided over by Justice Okon Abang, which declared Ogah the authentic governor of the state.

The appellate court, however, gave a different ruling, disagreeing with the lower court, prompting the issue getting to the apex court. But since this development took place last year, the state has been in confusion, as the citizens are yet to be cleared on who is their real governor.

The Point gathered that despite the judgment by the appeal court, which granted Ikpeazu the authority to continue as the authentic governor of the state, he and his cabinet members had been treading carefully over issues of governance in the state, considering that the fate of the governor now lies with the apex court.

Meanwhile, as the two political titans are awaiting their fate from the Supreme Court, supporters of both gladiators, who are both from the Peoples Democratic Party, are reportedly going about, strategising to get favourable judgment from the apex court.

Recall that recently, Justice Amina Augie, of the Supreme Court, disqualified herself from a fiveman panel constituted by the acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, to hear the appeals seeking to sack Governor Ikpeazu from office as Abia State governor.

The appeals were lodged by Ogah and another new contender for the governorship seat, Sir Friday Nwosu. The appellants went before the apex court to challenge the August 18, 2016 judgment of the Abuja Court of Appeal, which reversed the high court verdict that removed Ikpeazu from office over alleged tax infractions.

ALSO READ:  Top 5 Comedians with Content & Class in Abuja

When the matter came up for hearing, Justice Augie based her decision to withdraw from the case on allegation of bias levelled against her by one of the parties.

According to her, the party accused her of not properly constituting the four-member panel of justices of the Court of Appeal that heard the petition challenging Ikpeazu’s election in Owerri, when she held sway there as the presiding justice of the division.

Justice Augie, who was recently elevated to the apex court, said her decision to pull out from the matter was in the interest of justice.

THE SAME FACELESS PEOPLE THAT SENT UNCOUNTABLE THREAT MESSAGES TO JUSTICE ABANG HAD ALREADY STARTED MAKING SIMILAR MOVES TO CONSISTENTLY HARASS JUSTICES OF THE APEX COURT

Following her withdrawal, the head of the Supreme Court panel, Justice Bode Rhodes Vivour, adjourned hearing on the case, saying a new panel will be constituted by the CJN to hear the appeals.

Following this, political observers in the state have said that the withdrawal of Justice Augie is no doubt due to pressure received from Governor Ikpeazu’s camp.

In the same vein, an advocacy and pro-democracy group, The South-East Democratic Coalition, has called on the National Judicial Council and the acting CJN, Justice Onnoghen, to immediately intervene in the undue harassment and intimidation of judges presently handling the legal issues concerning the governorship seat of Abia State.

SEDC alleged that the same group that battled unsuccessfully to intimidate and possibly frustrate Justice Abang into abandoning the case at the Federal High Court, through threat messages, have once more moved to the apex court, with a view to dragging the case in perpetuity Justice Augie’s withdrawal was based on accusation of bias levelled against her Ikpeazu’s loyalists, when the matter was still at the appellate court level.

She said that withdrawing from the case was the most appropriate thing to do. SEDC therefore asked the NJC and the acting CJN to prevail on the justices handling the matter at the apex court to report any form of harassment “from any quarters” to the Department of State Services and the police, instead of succumbing to the legion of threats.

ALSO READ:  Former Bauchi State Governor's house seized by EFCC

SEDC coordinator and secretary, Dr Maduka Okebanama, and Barr. Eunice Oke respectively, claimed that the same faceless people that sent uncountable threat messages to Justice Abang had already started making similar moves to consistently harass justices of the apex court.

SEDC, in a statement said, “Recall that Justice Abang, before delivering his judgment last year, had first of all declared in the open court that he received countless threat messages from different lines but that he was going ahead with the judgment and that heavens will not fall and expectedly, heaven did not fall.

Abang showed boldness and did not bow to the threats. “We are however worried that he did not involve the security agencies. This time around, nothing should be left to chance.

NJC owes it a duty to protect the judges. A circular should be immediately issued directing the judges to report to, not just the council, but also the DSS and the police any form of harassment from any quarters before, during and after the delivery of this all important j udgment.”

Saying that the judges should realise that the destiny of millions of Abians have been placed on the hands, SEDC added, “These people have been left to totter in abject poverty and penury as a result of non-payment of their salaries for months, non-payment of pensions for several years.

Poor infrastructure and total mal-administration in the hands of people who care less about the welfare or wellbeing of the people.

This is the only opportunity they have to be liberated and the judges should know that and therefore should not allow anybody to cow them out of delivering justice without fear or favour.”

Second Vice President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Dr Monday Onyekachi Ubani, reacting to the development, said that there was no hiding place for Ikpeazu under the law.

He said, “The case has gone to the Supreme Court. The judgment that was given by the Appeal Court was not satisfactory to Ogah and his legal team.

ALSO READ:  Controversy hits South East as 5 States to be shut down

The Supreme Court will have the final say, whether a man who holds to several lies about his tax payments as a gubernatorial candidate and even swore to an affidavit that whatever information he supplied to INEC and his party is true and correct and that if that information is found to be incorrect, he should be held responsible, will be allowed to go scot free, when all the information he supplied were all lies.

 

“If he is a man who has conscience, Ikpeazu knows that he didn’t pay his tax. He wants to escape justice, relying on techniques. But one day, we will all account before God in whatever we do to remain in power. God knows the truth. But I know that the Supreme Court will look at the matter in a dispassionate manner.

So, there will be a triumph of substance over technicality in the long run.” Meanwhile, Ikpeazu’s Chief Press Secretary, Eyinnaya Appollos, told us that the allegation against the governor over the case in Supreme Court is far from the truth.

He added that despite the case in court, Abia State has been calm and cool under the administration of Ikpeazu.

“As a matter of fact, I am not privy to those allegations, but to be factual with you, Abia State under Governor Ikpeazu has been so cool and calm.

The citizens are doing their businesses without any confusion or other issues. And on the matter in Supreme Court, I can tell you that like other cases that we have won in the past, Governor Ikpeazu’s victory is sure.

We are not scared over anything,” the Abia State governor’s CPS concluded. Until the final whistle is blown on this case by the apex court, Abians will continue to gravitate between the two contenders for the soul of the state, without actually knowing who the authentic governor of the state is between Ikpeazu and Ogah.

About editor

Recommended for you

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *