… I remain the Governor says Ikpeazu
Chris Steven, Abuja
Confusion has enveloped Abia state over the issuance of certificate of return to Uche Ogah by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as the duly elected Governor of the state.
This followed a Court order removing Okezie Ikpeazu as Abia State Governor early this week over tax evasion before he became governor.
INEC National Commissioner for South-east, Lawrence Nwuruku, confirmed this on Thursday.
The issuance, according to him was in compliance with a Federal High Court order directing the Commission to immediately issue Certificate of Return to Ogah.
Uche Ogah came second during the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) primaries in Abia State ahead of the governorship election.
The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, on Monday declared Okezie Ikpeazu, not qualified to contest the PDP primaries.
Justice Okon Abang, in his ruling held that for presenting fake tax returns during the primaries, Ikpeazu was never qualified to run in the PDP primaries.
Also, the judge ordered the Chief Judge of the state to swear in Uche Ogah, his opponent in the December 2014 governorship primaries in state as the substantive Governor of Abia State.
Mr Uche Ogah had approached the court to nullify the election of Mr Ikpeazu as Abia State Governor, alleging that the defendant presented fake tax returns to run for the primaries.
But in a swift reaction, the sacked Governor has insisted that he remains the Governor of the state.
The embattled Ikpeazu, who has already filed an appeal against the ruling reacted to the development in a statement he personally signed and issued on Thursday.
The statement reads: “I have received with concern, report of the purported issuance of Certificate of Return to Mr. Uche Ogah by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), as governor of Abia State, despite dependency of a notice of appeal and motion for stay of the orders made by Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja.
“Our laws are clear on this matter. No one may be issued with a certificate of return let alone be sworn in as governor, when there is a subsisting appeal and application for stay.
“I want to appeal to Abians to remain calm and law abiding in the face of this provocation, unless and until the appellant courts have conclusively resolve the appeal, the status remains, I am still the Governor of Abia State.