PDP appeals Ikpeazu’s removal from office — Bridget Chiedu Onochie

By Ikenga Chronicles June 29, 2016

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has appealed against the Federal High Court judgement which on Monday asked Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State to vacate office over false tax information.

In the notice of appeal dated June 28, which has Obasi Uba Ukeagbara, Chukwuemeka Mbah, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and Okezie Ikpeazu as first to fourth respondents, the PDP expressed its dissatisfaction with the judgment of Justice Okon Abang.

Justice Abang had in the said judgment also declared Uche Ogah as PDP’s rightful candidate for the governorship election that held in Abia State in April 2015.

The appellant has listed five grounds for the appeal, which include the fact 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.

“The Honourable Trial Court misdirected itself when it construed the provisions of the PDP constitution to the detriment of the appellant without giving the appellant a chance to be heard and thereby occasioned miscarriage of justice”, the appellant added.

In the particulars of the error, the appellant stated that Ukeagbara and Mba, being “the first and second respondents in the appeal, did not pray the trial court to construe the provisions of the PDP constitution.

“No evidence was led that the said Uche Sampson Ogah participated in the 2015 Abia State gubernatorial elections, yet the trial court declared him winner of the said elections contrary to the express provisions of section 141 of the Electoral Act, among other grounds.”

The PDP therefore urged the Court of Appeal for “an order, setting aside the judgment.Also yesterday, Ikpeazu filed an appeal against the judgment through his counsel, Chief Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN), arguing that the Federal High Court lacked the power to order him to vacate the seat of governor.

The appeal reads 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 said 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.


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