Three groups in the South-East; the South-East Democratic Coalition (SEDC), the South East Revival Group (SERG), and the Abia Progressives Forum (APF), have asked that Dr Uche Ogah be sworn in as Abia State governor without further delay.
The groups, in separate statements in Enugu yesterday, called on President Muhammadu Buhari and the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, to order Ogah’s immediate swearing in in line with the ruling of the Federal High Court, Abuja, to avert looming anarchy in the state.
They insisted that there was no constitutional or legal hurdle stopping the swearing in of Ogah, pointing out that Justice Okon Abang has refused to grant a stay against his judgment of June 27 in another case initiated by a group of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) stalwarts in the state.
The SEDC statement was signed by its coordinator, Dr. Maduka Okebanama and Secretary, Eunice Oke; the APF was signed by its President, Ndu Ahaiwe and Secretary, Okey Adibe, while the statement of SERG was signed by its National Secretary, Mazi Luis Obioh.
The coalition noted that in refusing the stay of execution application, Justice Abang ruled that since the Certificate of Return had already been given to Dr Ogah, he did not see what to stay anymore in his judgment.
Also, the APF wondered why the security agencies still allowed Ikpeazu to hold sway in the state, noting that “in the eyes of the law,” he has ceased to be the governor since June 27.
SERG, on its part urged Ikpeazu to honourably step aside as a mark of his respect for the rule of law, having failed to secure a stay of execution of the ruling of Justice Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja.
Meanwhile, a lawyer, Mr Kevin Godwin Ebonyi has canvassed a rerun election in the state.
Mr Ebonyi, yesterday, in Nnewi, Anambra State made his submissions on the crisis and noted that since Governor Okezie Ikpeazu has gone on appeal to challenge his sack by the Abuja Federal High Court, every other interested party, including Ogah, in the governorship seat should wait until the court processes in the Supreme Court were exhausted.
He insisted that the next best thing to do if Ikpeazu did not get judgment in his favour, was to conduct a fresh election where candidates from all other political parties would participate except the disqualified candidate.
The lawyer added that to say Ogah came second in a primary conducted by his political party should not qualify him to be the winner of that governorship election.
Mr Ebonyi, legal practitioner from Oseloka Osigwe Chambers, Nnewi said the Abuja Federal High Court in the instance case erred in law to have made what he called a hurried pronouncement that Governor Ikpeazu was sacked as a governor and for Dr Ogah, who never participated in the governorship election as a candidate to take over “whereas the issue is that Ikpeazu would not have participated in the election because of the said forgery of tax clearance certificate.”
He noted that there were no provisions of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended or the Electoral Act, 2011 as amended that gave backing to the pronouncement that Certificate of Return must be issued to Dr Ogah and be subsequently sworn in as the Governor of Abia State when the people of Abia did not make him as their choice in an election. He described the judgment as a packaged one targeted at Governor Ikpeazu.
“What the Federal High Court Abuja should have done was to declare that at the time of the election, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of the Peoples Democratic Party was not qualified to participate in the governorship election. Based on that, if all his appeals following court processes to upturn the judgment fail, the proper thing is to order a fresh election in Abia so that all other political parties will participate in the fresh election because you must not impose a governor on the people of Abia State,” the lawyer argued.