PRESS RELEASEBY DR. UCHE SAMPSON OGAH SUPPORT GROUP
1.On 27th June, 2016, the Federal High Court of Nigeria, in two consolidated cases delivered well-reasoned judgments in which the Court ordered the “Independent National Electoral Commission forthwith to issue certificate of return to the plaintiff, Dr. Sampson Uchechukwu Ogah as Governor of Abia State for the Election held on the 11th April, 2015 and restore all entitlements to him as the elected Governor of Abia State. Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu is hereby ordered to vacate office as Governor of Abia State.” (SUIT NO. FHC/ABJ/CS/71/2016: DR. SAMPSON UCHECHUKWU OGAH vs. PEOPLE’S DEMOCRATIC PARTY & 4 OTHERS, and SUIT NO. FHC/ABJ/CS/1086/2014: OBASI UBAH EKEAGBARA vs. PEOPLE’S DEMOCRATIC PARTY & 2 OTHERS).
2.Pursuant to the judgment, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, issued ‘Certificate of Return for Governor of a State’ to the Dr. Sampson Uchechukwu Ogah in INEC headquarters in Abuja.
3. By virtue of the issuance of the Certificate of Return to Dr. Uchechukwu Ogah, the one earlier issued to Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu became nullified, void, invalidated and cancelled, and he ceased to be the Governor of Abia State by virtue thereof.
5.In a deliberate desperation to frustrate the actualization of the swearing in of the declared Governor, the removed governor and his henchmen illegally whisked off the Chief Judge and the President of the Customary Court of Appeal of Abia State the persons constitutionally empowered to administer the Oath of Office to the declared Governor. The judicial officers were not found anywhere in Abia State and could not be reached howsoever. See Vanguard Newspaper of Friday 1st July, 2016 front-page, and other newspapers.
6.The disappearance and unavailability of the said judicial officers were deliberately orchestrated and or caused to be orchestrated by Dr. Ikpeazu to instigate political and social crisis in the state.
7.Dr. Ikpeazu, knowing that the Chief Judge and the President of the Customary Court of Appeal of Abia State are the persons constitutionally empowered to administer the Oath of Office to the declared Governor, did not stop at whisking these judicial officers into hostage-hiding, but also hurriedly concocted and or cooked-up an order of injunction purporting to restrain the said officers from administering the oath of office to the declared Governor.
8.Still in a state of desperation and in his characteristic irregular conduct, Dr. Ikpeazu purported to declare a public holiday for Friday and Monday, 1st and 4th July, 2016 which according to him is to honour Chief Ojo Maduekwe who died on 27th June 2016 even though his burial date has not been fixed by his family. It is ridiculous that a Monday and Friday Public holiday is being declared in the circumstance. In any event, he has no power or capacity in law to declare a public holiday or carry out any official duties of a governor as his certificate of return has been invalidated and withdrawn by INEC on the basis of a valid court order, and he is no longer a governor.
9.The filing of a Notice of Appeal and motion for stay by Dr. Ikpeazu does not, cannot, and should not operate to delay the swearing in of the declared governor, INEC having issued him a Certificate of Return and withdrawn and cancelled that earlier issued to Dr. Ikpeazu.
10.The judgment that removed Ikpeazu, the ex-governor, is not an election petition where the sitting governor may be entitled to continue in office till his appeal is finally determined. (Nation Newspaper, Friday 1ST July, 2016, page 2). The import of the judgment of the Federal High Court is simply that Dr. Ikpeazu was not in the first place qualified to be a candidate. The law does not, should not, and can never offer protection or be manipulated to offer protection in any form to what was not supposed to be, what does not exist. As lawyers would say, you cannot place something on noting and expect it stand. It will collapse. Okezie’s candidature has been found to have been placed on nothing (or at best on an illegality and falsehood), it makes legal, logical and common sense that he should leave office and not be encouraged or allowed to hide behind a notice of appeal, motion for stay or any legal technicality to continue to enjoy the fruit of his falsehood, dishonesty and illegality. He is not entitled to any legal protection.
11.Dr. Ikpeazu no longer being Governor of Abia State and Dr. Uche Ogah not having been formally sworn in as Governor of the state, a state of administrative and constitutional vacuum, socio-political tension, confusion, and uncertainty is created and prevailing in the state.
12.We call upon the Chief Justice of Nigeria, the Attorney General of the Federation, and the Inspector General of Police to avert, as a matter of extreme urgency, the continuation of a state of administrative and constitutional vacuum, socio-political tension, confusion, uncertainty and lawlessness enthroned in Abia State by the removed governor, and restore peace, order and governance in Abia State and avoid a complete breakdown of law and order in the state by causing the real people’s governor to be sworn in immediately.
GOD BLESS ABIA STATE, AND GOD BLESS THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA!