A Federal High Court in Abuja has affirmed that the Certificate of Return issued to Uche Ogah by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), which gave him the right to be sworn in as Governor of Abia State, was valid.
The court stated this in two separate rulings on Friday.
According to Justice Okon Abang, there was no room for a stay of execution on the two separate rulings delivered on June 27, which ordered Okezie Ikpeazu to vacate the governorship seat and Uche Ogah, be sworn in, since INEC had already issued new certificate of return to Ogah.
He therefore ruled that the judgment removing Ikpeazu cannot be invalidated until there is an otherwise ruling in the Court of Appeal.
Abang said, “The order of the court subsists until set aside by the Court of Appeal. Therefore, the INEC lawfully issued Certificate of Return to Dr. Sampson Ikpeazu as it was in line with the judgment of this court.”
He stated this in two separate rulings striking out Ikpeazu and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), motions for stay of execution based on one of the two judgments delivered on June 27.
The judgments June 27 were delivered in two suits separately filed by Ogah and one Obasi Uba Eleagbara.
While the court denied hearing Ikpeazu’s motion for stay of execution of the judgment with respect to the case numbered FHC/ABJ/CS/71/2016 which was filed by Ogah, the court on the other hand dismissed a related motion filed by Ikpeazu and the PDP with respect to the suit, numbered FHC/ABJ/CS/1086/2014.
The judge in his ruling to the first case filed by Ogah, ruled that he could not go ahead to hear the motion for stay of execution as the lawyers to the contending parties, Ogah and Ikpeazu, have said that the court no longer had jurisdiction to hear it because the appeal against the court’s judgment had been entered and appeal number issued.
However, the court denied hearing the motion for stay of execution filed by Ikpeazu with respect to the judgment on the case filed by Eleagbara, on the basis that it lacked merit.
Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), Ikpeazu’s lawyer, tried withdrawing the application after the judge denied his request for an adjournment of the hearing on the motion. The judge held that the request for its withdrawal was no longer relevant since Ogah’s lawyer; Alex Izinyon (SAN) had already filed a counter-affidavit challenging it.
Abang stated that since issues had been joined, the motion for stay of execution was supposed to have been heard not minding whether it was formally moved in the open court or not, adding that since INEC had issued Certificate of Return to Ogah, nothing was left to be stayed.
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