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Appeal Court reinstates Ikpeazu as Abia governor

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Okezie Ikpeazu

Okezie Ikpeazu

It was victory for Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State yesterday as the Appeal Court sitting in Abuja set aside the judgment that removed him from office.

The panel, which comprised Justices Helen Ogunwumiju, Abubakar Datti Yahaya, Philomina Ekpe, Ibrahim Shatta Bdliya and Saidu Tanko Hussaini, set aside the judgment delivered by Justice Okon Abang in its entirety.

The court held that the originating summons which led to the judgment that removed Ikpeazu was not properly constituted, and as such, the lower court lacked jurisdiction to hear it, and consequently, any decision that flowed from it was null and void.

Aside from not signing the originating summons, the court held that the suit filed by Dr. Samson Ogah did not disclose any cause of action because it was filed even before the appellant (Ikpeazu) submitted his documents to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Justice Shatta agreed with the counsel to the governor, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN) that it was not the duty of the court to begin to search for the signatory to the originating summons to authenticate it as required by law.

The court also held that although the originating summons was later amended, an amended summons has no capacity to cure a defective and incurably bad originating summons being the foundation of the suit.

According to the appellate court, “the law has laid down principles by which a case can be instituted, but on the motion which led to this appeal, three people indicated themselves as lawyers and signed the document while the law states that only an identifiable legal practitioner can do so.”

The court ruled that it was not its business to embark on a voyage of helping a litigant decide who filed his case, and by so doing, the lower court erred in deciding for the litigants.

In another pronouncement by Justice Ogunwumiju, the appellate court held that Justice Abang raped democracy in his order that the INEC should issue a certificate of return to Ogah when there was no evidence of forgery or criminality against Ikpeazu.

According to the court, the judgment of Justice Abang was grossly erroneous because it was based on inadequacy of tax receipt that cannot be visited on the appellant.

“After reading through the judgment several times, I was amazed at how the trial judge arrived at his conclusion of perjury against the appellant when there was no evidence of forgery. To say the least, his findings are ridiculous.

“The judge must have sat in his chamber, unilaterally assessed and computed the tax of the appellant and came to the conclusion that he did not pay the required tax. But let me say that courts are not allowed to speculate as the trial judge has done in the instant case.

“In another breath, the trial judge spoke from both sides of his mouth when in one breath, he claimed that he based his findings on supply of false information and in another breadth, he came to the conclusion that the appellant in this matter committed perjury, even when there was no allegation of forgery and no allegation that he did not pay tax.”

The Appeal Court also held that the Federal High Court judge turned the head of the law upside down in his conclusion that it was the appellant that should bear the burden of proof on the allegation made by Ogah.

“With respect, we disagree with him in this conclusion because it is the person that makes an allegation of falsehood that must prove it,” the court said.

“From whatever angle one looks at the judgment of the trial judge, the decision of his court was grossly erroneous. The inadequacies of the tax receipt cannot be visited on Ikpeazu who scored the highest votes in the 2015 governorship election as doing so will amount to a rape of democracy.”

In his reaction to the judgment yesterday, Governor Ikpeazu told journalists: “This victory is for those that voted for us to continue to serve Abia State. We are grateful to the judiciary, the hope of the common man. Without the judiciary, what would have been my fate, a son of a poor teacher?”


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16 Comments
  • Basil Ogbanufe

    “……. Justice Okon Abang raped democracy in his order that the INEC should issue a certificate of return to Ogah when there was no evidence of forgery or criminality against Ikpeazu”.

    SO DEMOCRACY CAN BE RAPED.

    • Collins Nweke

      Yes democracy can be raped Basil Ogbanufe, sometimes violently and other times mercilessly!

      • Basil Ogbanufe

        Then there is something seriously wrong with us as a people. We are not a people. Can this happen in the UK or USA or other advanced economies? It is because we permit it. But if we were a people it certainly will not happen.

    • Nd

      I don’t believe that

      • Basil Ogbanufe

        And what is it that you don’t believe?

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  • Amadi ikechukwu

    Mr Ogah Supreme Court at once.

    • Tony Oshea

      Encourage Ogah to waste his money. The case is clear and won by lkpeazu , even in heaven.

  • Femi Ghadaf Ogunlesi

    That’s Just ice Abang 4 u.He likes doing dirty job 4 d boys as he’s also currently doing 4 Sheriff of D PDP.I wish NJC should sanction him.

  • Okpi

    Justice Agban, APC house boy! Escort Ogah to the Supreme court since you have taken an oath to destroy our democracy. The havoc APC used you to create through your co-servant Sheriff against PDP is still making waves. One wonders if NJC still have disciplinary measures against political judges!

  • Razorblade007

    What a shame. A big shame on Abang.

    • chiemex

      Where is Femi Falana, Olisa Agbakoba & Itse Sagay? Shameless SANs that stood with falsehood. Shame on Guardian Newspaper also, they were writing as if Ogah bought them over. Money talks, bullshit happens!

  • Pat Chukwuelue

    One man’s loss is another’s gain. But the question remains – What does the ordinary Abian get out of this legal wrestling? the moment election tribunals take up the task of deciding who wins or loses elections, it is like what the French will call comme ci, comme ca. We are all watching.

  • Triple_O

    What next, will this judgment now be further appealed, to the Supreme Court? It strikes me that, until the NJC takes a
    broom to flush out the detritus that fills our malodourous judicial system, we shall not see the end of these unseemly cases where apparently there is some puppeteer’s hand pulling the strings of the lawyers and judges.
    A good starting point for the NJC would be for it to clean up its own website – http://www.njcgov.org – so we the people, can
    read what it has done so far, instead of each item in its NEWS FEED / EVENTS page merely giving an error message – Server Error in ‘/’ Application – which prevents us reading the outcome of the NJC’s decisions on errant judicial
    officers. Maybe our learned Justices have never visited their own website, but someone should point out to them that
    this glaring obfuscation needs to be removed and their decisions brought out into the sunlit open!! What are they
    afraid of, or do they have something to hide?!!

  • Nd

    I can only see blames from the judges on Abang and not the fact of the case at all . He ( Abang ) is at the centre of this judgement instead of the false tax presentation, plz take note .

    • Basil Ogbanufe

      It is not the business of the Appeal court to try such a case but look into the merits and demerits of the trial judge’s judgment and form its opinion.