A Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, governorship aspirant in Abia State, Dr Uche Ogah, has denied that his demand to be sworn in as governor was because of desperation.
He stated that his case is strongly anchored on facts, and that “the refusal of Ikpeazu to respond to the core issues and his resort to propaganda speaks volumes”.
According to Ogah, his victory at the court is valid and not “a hurriedly executed legal ambush for the acquisition of political power as being insinuated by some persons.”
“My case is strongly anchored on facts, and the refusal of Ikpeazu to respond to the core issues and his resort to propaganda speaks volumes,” Ogah said.
Ogah stated this through his counsel on Monday Ubani at a press briefing in Lagos on Wednesday, insisting that his case predated Ikpeazu’s swearing in as governor and had reached the Supreme Court before returning to the lower court.
According to him, his claim was that Ikpeazu was not eligible to participate in the primaries on the basis that he failed to pay his taxes as and when due as required by the 1999 Constitution, PDP’s Guidelines, and the Electoral Act of 2010. He said on the face of it, Ikpeazu’s tax clearance was questionable.
The aspirant said the Tax Clearance form (Code PD002/G), dated November 4, 2014, and sworn to at the High Court Registry, Aba, shows that Ikpeazu’s tax receipt number for December 2011 is 0012849; that of December 2012 is 0012846 and that of December 2013 is 0012847 and 0012848.
“Did he use one booklet to pay tax for three years? Is he the only one paying tax? How come the tax number which ends in 49 came first rather than last?,” he asked.
Ubani further said Ogah went to court soon after the primaries after the PDP’s appeal panel failed to respond to his complaints about Ikpeazu’s alleged non-qualification.
He stated further that when he filed the suit in 2014, Ikpeazu challenged the court’s jurisdiction with the appeal process getting to the Court of Appeal until it was decided by the Supreme Court which ruled that the Federal High Court had jurisdiction to hear the case.
Ubani also said the first judge handling the case, Justice Adeniyi Ademola, withdrew from the case because he was accused of bias and returned the file to the Chief Judge. The matter was re-assigned to Justice Okon Abang.
“If Ikpeazu is convinced about the rightness of his cause, he should vacate the seat, plead his case in a court of law and when granted victory come back rather than resort to propaganda,” Ubani said.
He also exonorated the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, of any blame, saying the order of the court said Ogah should be issued with a certificate with immediate effect.
“We got an enrolment order which INEC complied with,” Ubani said.
Ubani further disclosed that legal steps would be taken to discharge the restraining order made by an Osisioma High Court stopping Ogah’s inauguration.
“We have to vacate the order lawfully even though the judge who made the order did not indicate a return date,” Ubani said, adding his client has to be sworn in because an appeal does not operate as a stay of execution in pre-election matters.
According to him, it was absurd for a court of cordinate jurisdiction to to arrest the judgment of another court.
“The Inspector-General of Police and the Attorney-General of the Federation should have ensured compliance with Justice Abang’s order in the absence of any contrary order, because the judgement says ‘with immediate effect’, and an appeal does not mean a stay of execution because it is not a criminal case,” Ubani said.
According to Ubani, Ogah, an oil magnate, entrepreneur, investor and President of Master Energy Group, a conglomerate with over 15 subsidiaries and interests across a variety of industries with over 40,000 employees, “is not in the race for the money”.
“He sees involvement in politics as an opportunity to have more solid and sustainable impact on Abia,” Ubani added.
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