You have no power to sack me, Ikpeazu tells court
Abia State Governor, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu,has filed an appeal against the judgment delivered Monday by the Federal High Court, sitting in Abuja which removed him from office as governor.
The governor in an appeal filed by Chief Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN) maintained that the Federal High Court lacked the power to order him to vacate the seat of Abia State Governor.
The appeal read in part: “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.”
The governor added 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.
Ikepazu also faulted the Judge when he held that he did not pay his tax for the years 2011, 2012 and 2013, as and when due, when he was a Public Officer, whose tax deduction was under Pay As You Earn (PAYE) scheme where tax deductions were from the source of his monthly salary by the tax authorities who issued all the tax receipts and certificates.
He further stated that the Abia State Board of Internal Revenue Services that issued him with the tax certificates had not declared the certificates forged and that the trial court did not invite the issuing authorities to give evidence in the course of the trial.
Ikpeazu said that the plaintiff, Dr Samson Udechukwu Ogah, was not a staff of the Abia Board of Internal Revenue and did not ask any staff of the board to testify that the tax certificates were forged.
He accused the trial Judge, Justice Okon Abang of violating his right to fair hearing by embarking on the judicial investigation without giving him (Ikepazu) the opportunity to address the court on the issue.
The notice of appeal also states: “The learned trial judge erred in law when he held that the appellant presented false information to the Independent National Electoral Commission by his ingenious meticulous study and investigation of documents filed in courts in the recess of his chambers and thereby violated the right of the appellant to fair hearing.”
The governor held that the Judge had no duty to investigate the contents of documents dumped on the court in the recess of his chambers with a view to finding for the plaintiff.
“The decision of the Judge which arose from the judicial investigation without an opportunity to the appellant, violated the appellant’s right to fair hearing”, said.
Ikepazu also rejected the decision of the high court declaring him unqualified to be nominated as the primary election conducted by his party because false information was supplied to INEC.
According to him, INEC Form CF001, which the Judge relied on, was not one of the grounds for qualification to contest the Primary election of PDP.
He stated that the Judge misconceived the presentations by the Parties and thereby arrived at a wrong conclusion which occasioned a grave miscarriage of justice.
Meanwhile, the governor’s Party, the PDP has equally rejected the judgment and filed a separate appeal.
The Party said that the trial court erred in law when it held that it had jurisdiction to hear the suit which was on whether section 24 (f) of the 1999 constitution was complied with.