INEC issuance of certificate to Ogah legal, correct, says Keyamo
• Lawyer asks court to stop release of allocation to Abia
• Group chides ‘traditional ruler’ over utterances on impasse
Lagos lawyer Festus Keyamo said yesterday that the Independent National Electoral Commission acted legally and correctly by instantly issuing a Certificate of Return to the governorship aspirant in Abia State, Dr. Samson Uchechukwu Ogah.
Keyamo, in a statement sent to The Guardian said contrary to opinions expressed in certain quarters, there is no judicial decision or statutory provision preventing INEC from complying immediately with the orders of the Federal High Court.
He added that, the provision of Section 143(1) of the Electoral Act, Part VIII that gives Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu (or any other office holder for that matter) 21 days within which to file an appeal against an adverse judgment and to remain in office until the appeal is determined, applies only to post-election matters before election tribunals or the Court of Appeal and not pre-election matters as in this case.
Keyamo said “It is constitutionally abnormal and legally paradoxical that a person with a validly issued Certificate of Return should not occupy that office immediately, and the person with an invalidated Certificate of Return continues to occupy that office.
In a separate development, an Abuja-based legal practitioner, Darlington Ozurumba, has asked the Federal High Court to stop further release of the monthly allocation to Abia State from the federation account pending the resolution of the governorship crisis in the state.
In suit no. FHC/ABJ/CS/483/2016, Ozurumba raised four questions for the determination by the court, which include:
“Whether by the combined provisions of Section 176 and 162, Sub-Section 3 and 4 of the 1999 Constitution as amended or any other enabling statute, the defendants can validly release the monthly revenue allocations accruing to Abia State or any other state from the federation accounts where there is no lawful or recognized governor in law as Chief Executive of the state, among other questions.
Meanwhile, a socio-cultural -political group in the state called Umuahia Consultative Forum (ICF) of the Ibeku Autonomous Community in Umuahia North LGA has disowned a Traditional Prime Minister, Chief Uche Akwukwuegbu and directed him to refrain from making further statements or claims on behalf of Ibeku people.
ICF, in a press release signed by Professor Joshua Ogbonnaya and Mr. Nkwachukwu Agomuo as Chairman and Secretary respectively and twenty one others, referred to last week’s three newspapers’ reports that “one Uche Akwukwuegbu, described as the Traditional Prime Minister of Ibeku Kingdom, led a set of Abia leaders who called for the immediate inauguration of Dr. Ogah as the governor of the state.”