Abia: Certificate of Return already issued to Ogah, before Ikpeazu’s appeal notice, INEC tells court

Abia Chief Judge denies absconding to avoid Ogah swearing-in

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), on Monday told a Federal High Court in Abuja that it had already issued Certificate of return to Uche Ogah, before receiving a notice of stay of action by Governor Okezie Ikpeazu.

The commission said while the Certificate of Return was issued to Ogah on June 28, in compliance with the order made in the judgment of the court delivered June 27, that Ikpeazu’s court order of stay of execution, came after the certificate had been issued.

Ogah was issued a Certificate of Return on June 30 and televised publicly, but INEC said the June 30 handing over of the certificate to Ogah was only an actual presentation as the commission had already done the presentation before the public presentation.

INEC said it had already issued the certificate of return before the processes of the notice of appeal against the judgment and a motion for stay of execution of the judgment, both filed by Ikpeazu, were served on the commission, adding that the notice of appeal and the motion for stay of execution of the judgment did not operate as a stay of execution of a court’s verdict in a pre-election case.

Read also: Twist in battle for Abia as PDP disowns Ogah

INEC made this claim through its lawyer, Mr. Alhassan Umar, when the motion for stay of execution of the judgment came up for hearing before Justice Okon Abang, the same judge who delivered the verdict on June 27.

Umar said, “My lord ordered the third defendant to issue certificate of return forthwith and upon service of the order, my lord, on June 28, 2016, the 3rd defendant issued a certificate of return accordingly.

“The certificate of return was issued before we were served with the motion on June 28. We had issued the certificate upon being served with the court order.

“But the actual presentation of the certificate was on June 30. But we had complied with the order of my lord.”

Umar was reacting to an application by Ikpeazu’s lawyer, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), for adjournment of the hearing of his client’s motion, till Thursday.

While adjourning till Thursday for hearing of the application by Okezie for a stay of execution, Justice Okon Abang, said the enrollment order he gave to Uche Ogah was not an enforcement order.

The judge also adjourn hearing on Ogah’s application seeking to vacate the order by Justice Chibuzo Ahuchaogu of Abia State High Court, that restrain the Chief Judge of Abia State from swearing in Ogah as governor of Abia State, to Thursday.

Also, a Federal high court sitting in Owerri, has reserved ruling for Friday on a suit filed by Mr. Friday Nwosu against the eligibility of Abia state governor, Okezie Ikpeazu.

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