Prominent political leaders, elder statesmen and traditional rulers from Abia State met in Abuja on Monday night and condemned the judgment given by Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court which faulted Governor Okezie Ikpeazu’s election.
The meeting, which was organized by Concerned Abia Elders, had in attendance a former National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Vincent Ogbulafor; the immediate past governor of Abia State and the senator representing Abia-Central senatorial district, Theodore Orji.
Also in attendance were a former President of the Senate, Senator Adolphus Wabara; Secretary to the Abia State Government, Dr. Eme Okoro; a former Ambassador to Argentina, Chief Empire Kanu; Prof. Herbert Orji, Chief Chukwu Nwachukwu, Elder E.O. Adaelu, Prof. S.O. Igwe and Mr. Solomon Adaelu.
The state has been embroiled in controversy following the landmark judgment.
According to a communiqué issued at the end of the meeting, the pioneer Chairman of the Niger Delta Development Commission and a former governorship candidate in Abia State, Chief Onyema Ugochukwu, faulted the court judgment and said the elders threw their weight behind Ikpeazu.
Ugochukwu described the judgment as perverse and reckless.
The elders also criticised the Independent National Electoral Commission for its decision to issue a Certificate of Return to Ikpeazu’s main challenger in the party’s primary, Dr Uch Ogah.
The communiqué read, “We have also noted the haste by INEC to issue the certificate of return just a few hours after Justice Abang’s judgment, despite the fact that INEC had been duly served with a notice of appeal of the said order and the motion for a stay of execution.
“The elders condemn the attempt to set Abia State on fire and create a situation which can only exacerbate the problems the country is currently contending with in the North- East and the Niger Delta.”
They, however, commended the intervention of the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Mallam Abubakar Malami ( SAN), who urged the parties to exercise restraint, follow the rule of law and await the conclusion of proceedings from the appellate court.
The elders said they supported the attorney general’s appeal for peace, imploring all parties in the matter to calm down and await the conclusion of matters in the court.
They commended the people of Abia State for maintaining peace in the face of recent provocations and urged them to remain calm.