No end in sight to Abia governorship debacle

Uchechukwu OgahUEMEKA OKONKWO 
ABUJA, (CAJ News) – UBANI Monday Onyekachi, the legal adviser to Uchechukwu Samson Ogah, has urged authorities to ensure the swearing-in of the latter as Governor of Abia State.

A former governorship aspirant, Friday Nwosu, had filed a suit challenging the nomination of Okezie Ikpeazu as candidate of the People’s Democratic Party during the party’s primaries in December 2014.

He contended that the tax documents presented by the governor were forged. The PDP and another aspirant, Ogah, a running mate of Ikpeazu during the 2015 polls, were listed as defendants in the suit.

Courts are divided over the legitimacy of the governor.

However, Onyekachi, who is the former regional chairman of the Nigerian  Bar Association (NBA), made his appeal to the offices of the Attorney-General, Inspector-General of Police and the Chief Judge of Abia demanding the swearing-in of his client.

He argued that in the light of last week’s development wherein Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court in Abuja refused to reverse his earlier order sacking Okezie Ikpeazu, Ogah remains the governor.

Onyekachi also dismissed as inconsequential the Federal High Court, Owerri judgment which cleared Ikpeazu of forgery allegation.

The legal representative to Ogah further stated the Federal High Court Abuja examined the affidavit of Dr Ikpeazu and found out that indeed the tax papers contained several inconsistencies.

Onyekachi said this was the basis for the Abuja Federal High Court order sacking Ikpeazu as Governor.

On the contentious issue as to whether tax is a constitutional matter which can warrant the removal of a sitting governor, Ubani clarified that section S177(c) of the 1999 Constitution as amended provides that a candidate must belong to a party and must be sponsored by that party.

“For a party to sponsor a candidate for the gubernatorial election, he or she must have fulfilled all the conditions stipulated in their guidelines including tax payment stipulated in article 14(a) which provides that if  the candidate fails to so do, he or she shall be disqualified.

“Therefore tax is constitutional requirement since the party’s guidelines made provision for it,” he said.

Onyekachi also dismissed the extended injuction order restraining the Abia Chief Judge from swearing-in Ogah.

He described the injuction as “patently illegal, disorderly and unknown to law.”

“The matter as it stands today is that Dr Uche Ogah is the governor of Abia State, legally speaking. But he must be sworn in and take his oath of office, declare assets before he can start to act in that capacity as a governor.”

CAJ News

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