Abia: S’Court decides Ikpeazu’s fate May 12

The Supreme Court on Wednesday fixed May 12 for its judgment on whether or not Governor Okezie Ikpeazu could continue to remain in office following “falsehood and discrepancies” allegedly discovered in his tax documents submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission.
A five-man panel of the apex court led by the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, fixed the date for judgement after hearing an appeal against the judgment of the Court of Appeal in Abuja, which had gone in favour of Ikpeazu last August.
Justice Okon Abang, then of the Federal High Court, Abuja, had in his judgment delivered on June 27, sacked Ikpeazu and directed the Chief Judge of Abia State to swear in Uchechukwu Ogah as the state’s governor.
The judge ruled that with the alleged falsehood and discrepancies in Ikpeazu’s tax documents attached to Form CF001 which he submitted to INEC nominating him as the Peoples Democratic Party’s governorship candidate, he (Ikpeazu) was not qualified to have contested the 2015 election in the state.
But in its judgment delivered on August 18, 2016, a five-man panel of the appeal court led by Justice Helen Ogunwumiju, nullified Justice Abang’s judgment and set aside all the orders, including the one directing INEC to issue fresh certificate of return to Ogah.
The Supreme Court on Wednesday heard the appeal challenging the appeal court’s judgment.
The appeal was filed by Ogah, who came second behind Ikpeazu in the PDP’s primary conducted in December 2014 for the 2015 governorship election in the state.
At the hearing, Ogah’s lawyer, Dr. Alex Iziyon (SAN), urged the apex court to set aside the lower court’s verdict, insisting that Ikpeazu was not qualified to have contested the 2015 Abia governorship election on the platform of PDP.
He hinged his argument on the grounds that Ikpeazu supplied false information in the document used to secure clearance for the election in contravention of the provisions of the Electoral Act.
Opposing the appeal, Ikpeazu’s lawyer, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), urged the apex court to dismiss the appeal for lacking in merit.
Olanipekun argued that the trial court miscarried justice in its judgment because the PDP guidelines and its constitution which would have aided the court to arrive at a just conclusion were not before the court.
INEC’s lawyer, Mr. Alhassan Umar also urged the dismissal of Ogah’s appeal.
The apex court will deliver its judgment on May 12.
via punch newspaper

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