Ruling APC dragged into fray
By Nsikan Ikpe
Embattled Governor of Abia State, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu is fighting back, insisting he would not vacate Government House Umuahia until he has exhausted and lost all of his appeal chances.
This is even as a fresh twist has been added to the ongoing tussle with an Osisioma-Oma High Court granting an injunction restraining the Abia Stats Chief Justice from swearing-in Uche Ogah as Governor of Abia state.
The sitting governor who was ordered by Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court to vacate his office in favour of Uche Ogah on Monday has since filed an appeal against that judgement.
Earlier today however, the Independent National Electoral Commission proceeded to issue Ogah with a certificate of return, affirming that this was in line with the clear order of court handed down by Justice Abang. But Ikpeazu and those in his support are not finding this funny and are even alluding to the fact that this is part of a wider plot by the ruling All Progressives Congress to take over the governance of the state.
In a statement made available to the press today, the Abia Renaissaince Movement is suing that due process and the rule of law be allowed to take its course.
The statement which was signed by its President, Mr. Godwin Adindu affirms:
‘The report that INEC headquaters in Abuja has given a certificate of return to Mr. Uche Ogah and purporting to swear him in as the executive governor is a serious violation of legal procedures and invitation of anarchy to Abia.
This is unimaginable given that my Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, has formally filed a notice of appeal and a stay of execution.
Nigeria is not a jungle. We are not in an animal kingdom. Let all the extraneous forces bent on causing mayhem and turning Abia into another Syria think twice.
Governor Okezie is a peace-loving man and an ardent believer and respecter of the rule of law.
We ask for nothing less and nothing more but that the rule of law must prevail.
Or else, all parties involved in this grant conspiracy and sabotage against the will of the people of Abia and against the law and the cobstitution of Nigeria should wait for us. We shall meet at Philipi.’
Within the confusion generated by the ensuing events, fingers are pointing at the ruling All Progressives Congress as the prime instigator of the crisis. According to Lagos lawyer and public affairs commentator, Ebun Olu-Adegoruwa, the bigger plan may very well be for the ruling party to eventually benefit from the crisis through the latter-day defection of Uche Ogah as governor to its ranks, citing the current factionalisation and state of crisis within the PDP at the national level as the basis for his defection.
Beyond politics however, some legal practitioners and public affairs analysts are not amused by the deteriorating situation in the state. Says Liborious Oshomah:
‘Even though a Notice of Appeal ipso facto does not act as a stay of execution of a judgement, it is a a notorious fact that lawyers and litigates are enjoined to maintain status quo in any matter where a Notice of Appeal and Application for Stay of execution of judgement or application for Injunction pending appeal is pending.
Pending the determination of the said Application for Stay of Execution or Injunction pending Appeal, parties are enjoined to sheathe their swords.
But no, INEC had to hurriedly issue a certificate of return to Uche Ogah. Now Ikpeazu has gone to get a State High Court Order, from the Ossisioma Division of Abia State High Court, purporting to stay the execution of the judgement of the Federal High Court. Na waooo. Illegality jam illegality.
Why are we all hell bent on destroying this democracy and its institutions?’
Even as the controversy persists, observers are waiting upon the Attorney General of the Federation to wade into the issue.