“I am still the governor of Abia state” say’s Ikpeazu

Uche Ogah who was awarded a certificate of return as the new Abia state Governor following the disqualification of Okezie Ikpeazu by an Abuja-based federal high court over tax evasion.

Speaking through Enyinnaya Appolos, his media aide, after Ogah received a certificate of return from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Ikpeazu encouraged his supporters to remain calm, saying: “I am still the governor of Abia state.”

“I have received with concern, report of the purported issuance of Certificate of Return to Mr. Uche Ogah by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), as governor of Abia State, despite the pendency of a notice of appeal and motion for stay of the execution of the orders made by Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja,” read the statement.

“Our laws are clear on this matter. No one may be issued with a certificate of return let alone be sworn in as governor, when there is a subsisting appeal and application for stay.

“I want to appeal to Abians to remain calm and law abiding in the face of this provocation. Unless and until the appellant courts have conclusively resolved the appeal, the status quo remains; I am still the Governor of Abia State.”

According to The Cable, earlier on Wednesday, Ikpeazu had filed an appeal against Monday’s judgment. In a notice of appeal filed by Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN), he raised five grounds of appeal upon which he asked the court of appeal to set aside the judgment and orders of the high court.

The notice of appeal reads: “The trial judge erred in law when he ordered as a consequential order that the appellant vacates his office‎ as the Governor of Abia state immediately when there was no jurisdiction in the Federal High Court to remove, vacate the occupier of the office of the governor of a state or order the removal of such officer after the unsuccessful challenge of the result of the election at the Tribunal and swearing in of the appellant as the governor.”

He said that the only power, authority and order exercisable by the federal high court was to disqualify the candidate from contesting the election based on section 31(6) of the Electoral Act 2010.

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