• Tuesday, June 25, 2024
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Abia governorship tussle: Elders, Ukwa-Ngwa back Ikpeazu

 As tension mounts in Abia, following the sacking of Okezie Ikpeazu, as the governor of the state, by an Abuja Federal High Court, the people of Ukwa-Ngwa-made up of nine Local Government Areas of the 17 Local Government areas of the state, have vowed to resist any plot to deprive them of their right to govern the state this time around.
Ikpeazu is the first person from the area to become governor of Abia, since the creation of the state, 23 years ago.
The group in a communiqué it issued after its meeting, held on July 6, 2016, in Aba, the commercial hub of the state, expressed their unwavering support for the mandate duly given to Ikpeazu, as the governor of Abia State.
They also condemned what they termed “an illegally attempt to unseat the governor through the back door, by Sampson Uchechukwu Ogah and his cohorts”.
Ukwa-Ngwa nation vowed to resist every effort being made to illegally use the machinery of the law to deny the majority of Abians the mandate they freely gave to Ikpeazu as their governor.
The group assured they would use every legal means at their disposal to resist every effort to destabilise and cause unnecessary tension to the peace-loving people of Abia State.
Ukwa-Ngwa nation also commended the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice and aligns with his position that all parties should await the decision of the Appellate Courts. They also hoped that the judicial machinery should be allowed to take its normal course in line with the provisions of Section 179 (2) of the 1979 Constitution and Sections 141 and 143 of the Electoral Act, as amended.
Ukwa-Ngwa nation warned that aborting the judicial process at the middle of the road, as sought by Uche Ogah and his supporters now or in future, would amount to contravention of the constitutionally-guaranteed rights of the sitting governor, which emphasises fair hearing and right of appeal, the denial of which would enthrone anarchy and chaos in Abia State.
Ukwa-Ngwa nation also thanked the peace-loving people of Abia State for keeping the peace, so far, in the face of “this grievous provocation”, while extending same to all security agencies for helping to maintain law and order.
They further urged Abians to remain calm and peaceful, stressing that they have absolute confidence in the sanctity and the fairness of the judiciary, the last hope of the common man.
They also pledged total support to the Government of Muhammadu Buhari, president and commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, in his fight against corruption and urged him to ensure fairness, equity and justice for all sections of the nation.
The communiqué was endorsed by Eziuche Ubani, former member, representing Obingwa/Osisioma/Ugwunagbo Federal Constituency and current commissioner for Works, two representatives of the nine member LGAs.
Other signatories include, Chinwe Nwanganga, Felix Ebere (members of the steering committee), Big Nwosu and Sorochi Mark (secretary and publicity secretary of Ukwa- Ngwa Nation).
In a related development, Abia State elders and traditional rulers have described the issuance of Certificate of Return to Uche Ogah by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on the order of Okon Abang of the Federal High Court Abuja, as perverse and reckless.
The elders, who declared their full support for Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, appealed to Abians and every interest group in the tussle for leadership of the state, to remain calm, for the good of the state.
The group in a communiqué issued after its meeting in Abuja, Monday, commended Abubakar Malami, attorney-general of the federation and minister of Justice, for his quick and timely intervention, which the elders said, has helped to reduce tension in the state.
Onyema Ugochukwu, who read the communiqué of a meeting, held at the Asokoro home of Vincent Ogbulafo, stated, “We, the concerned elders of Abia State, worried by the developments in the last five days, which threatened to plunge our state into anarchy, violence and bloodshed, met today in Abuja to review the situation”.
The elders, he said, “reviewed the judgment of Justice Okon Abang, which is the beginning of the unfortunate crisis and INEC’s decision to issue a certificate of return to our son, Uchechukwu Ogah, which decision exacerbated the crisis.
“We came to the conclusion, unanimously, that Abang’s order to issue a certificate of return to someone who never contested the governorship election against the Electoral Act and well known decisions of superior courts was perverse and reckless and we condemn it in its entirety.
“We have also noted the unseeming haste of INEC to issue the certificate, just a few hours after the Abang’s order, and in spite of the fact that INEC had been duly served with a notice of appeal of the said order and the motion for a stay of execution.
“We are worried by the impression created of a conspiracy involving INEC to throw Abia into confusion and anarchy.
“We condemn in very strong terms the attempt to set Abia on fire and create a situation which can only compound the problems which our country currently has to bring an end to violence in the North East and Niger Delta.
“We have also noted with appreciation the intervention of the Attorney-General of the Federation, Malami, who has urged all parties to follow the rule of law and wait the conclusion of proceedings in the appellate courts. We join in this appeal for peace and urge all parties involved in this matter to calm down and await the conclusion of matters at the courts.”
The elders further said: “We also commend our people, the people of Abia who have remained peaceful in the face of recent provocations. We urge them to remain calm and maintain the peace as we wait the courts to conclude their processes,” they said.
The elders, made up of who-is-who in Abia politics, stated that they have “faith in the Nigerian judiciary and believe that in the end justice will be done.”
Meanwhile, a Federal High Court in Owerri, last Friday affirmed the election of Governor Ikpeazu.
Ruling on the matter filed by Friday Nwosu against, Ikpeazu, on alleged forgery of tax documents, the court ruled that the plaintiff, (Nwosu) was unable to prove that the tax documents were forged. The court ruled that the tax documents were not forged, and went further to dismiss the matter.