Supreme Court Confirms Okezie Ikpeazu As Abia Governor
The Supreme Court has confirmed Mr Okezie Ikpeazu as the duly elected Governor of Abia State.
The decision of the apex court today (Friday) brings an end to long-running litigation for legitimacy in the south-eastern Nigerian state since Ikpeazu’s swearing-in in 2015.
According to Channels tv, two out of the three-man panel of the Supreme Court struck out the appeal of Mr Uche Ogah, challenging the nomination and election of Ikpeazu, thereby affirming an earlier judgment of the appeal court.
Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court had in June 2016 annulled Ikpeazu’s election on the allegation that he submitted false tax documents to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
He subsequently directed the electoral body to issue Ogah with a certificate of return, a decision that was challenged and won on appeal by Ikpeazu.
But at the Supreme Court on Friday, Mr Ogah’s appeal was dismissed for lack of merit, faulting the earlier decision of Justice Abang to annul Ikpeazu’s election on the tax documents.
The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen described the case as a storm in a teacup, which shouldn’t have been entertained in the first case.
Justice Onnoghen held that Ikpeazu could not be held responsible for the discrepancies in his tax documents because there were given to him by the state.
He also warned politicians against trying to influence the judiciary, saying there was a security breach which will be investigated by the court.