• Tuesday, June 25, 2024
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BusinessDay

Abia governorship : Ikpeazu and Ogah in face off over ‘self help’

IKPEAZU-and-OGAH-1

The ongoing battle for the seat of the governor of Abia state between the embattled state governor, Okezie Ikpeazu and Uche Ogah took a different turn on Monday, when both parties accused each other of resorting to ‘self help’, in their bid to lay claim to the governorship seat.

At the resumed hearing of an application before Justice Okon Abang of an Abuja federal high court, Ikpeazu through his counsel, Wole Olanikepun SAN who led other Senior Advocates of Nigeria including Kanu Agabi and Onyeachi Ikpeazu had sought the court for an adjournment to reply to a counter affidavit filed by Alex Iziyon SAN, Ogah’s counsel, on the application for stay of execution.

Iziyon who also led SANs including Femi Falana and O. A. Okpeseyi had objected to this move arguing that the request for the next date, will only avail the applicant (Ikpeazu) if the court is convinced that the application is brought bonafide in the light of its process before the court obtained by the applicant in another court, where he sought and obtained an ex parte from the Abia state high court, restraining the Chief Judge from swearing in the respondent (Ogah).

“The question that arises now bothers on the sanctity of this court order and the application of the applicant before your lordship, now asking for a date to respond when they have in their pocket an order which has chained the plaintiff from presenting himself for swearing in, contrary to the order of this court.

” What is paramount is that the current application: Ikpeazu went somewhere else to get this order at the state high court. We have brought this before the court’s attention even though the applicant never told the court. No court under any guise can make a caricature and mockery of the court’s order”, Iziyon had submitted.

He further urged the court to reiterate its order since the Ikpeazu had taken a ‘self help’ step to “steal the show which should never be allowed if we are to abide by rule of law. Where a party has taken to self help, the court should refuse to indulge them further”.

Furthermore, he noted that the Abia state judge had been misled by the counsels, who did not tell him about a pending application before Justice Abang, and as such, a party who has committed itself to the jurisdiction of a court is not expected to resort to the issue of self help.

Ikpeazu through his counsel, Olanipekun however argued that the counter affidavit being quited from by Iziyon had not been served on him.

He argued that it was actually the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and Ogah that have taken cautious, deliberate, and calculated self help in other to frustrate both the motion and the pending appeal, because INEC is saying it was unaware of the notice of appeal and stay of execution.

He further urged the court to set aside the certificate of return prupotedly issued by INEC during the pendency of this motion to Ogah, that both INEC and Ogah took to self help.

INEC, represented by Alhassan Umar however affirmed that on the issue of enrolment of the court order to issue certificate of return to Ogah, saying that the certificate of return speaks for itself.

“Court had ordered issue of certificate of return forthwith and upon service of the order on June 28, INEC issued certificate of return accordingly. We were served with the motion on June 28 and we had issued the certificate upon service of the order of the court.

“The issuance is as regards the date the certificate was signed which was on the 28 and that was before we were served with the motion but we had complied with the order of the court”, Umar said.

The court in its ruling however said it was not going to decide if to set aside the judgement of the Abia state high court until the next adjourned date, because he had not perused the processes served in the application.

A visibly angry judge rebuked a particular electronic media (not BusinessDay) who he said, had a very biased and I’ll knowledgeable review of its ruling, which he said was futured on one of its political programmes, where a lawyer who never read the court’s ruling was said to have made contemptuous comments over the matter.

Justice Abang however adjourned the matter to July 7, 2016 for hearing of the post judgement application.

The federal high court presided over by Justice Abang had on June 27, 2016 ordered Ikpeazu to vacate his seat as the governor of Abia state, and that Ogah be presented with the certificate of return, but just a day after, another Abia high court granted an ex parte stopping the Chief Judge of the state from swearing Ogah as the new state governor.