News broke yesterday evening, first on the Internet and today on the papers that Abia State Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu has been sacked by a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, presided by Justice Okon Abang and ordered INEC to issue a Certificate of return to Mr. Uche Oga, a member of the Peoples Democratic Party, who contested the governorship ticket with the governor.
This according to the court is as a result of the allegation that Ikpeazu submitted false information to his party, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, for the party’s governorship primary in December 2014. The court declared that Mr. Ikpeazu was guilty of tax evasion and was, therefore, unqualified to have contested the 2015 governorship election in the state.
It will recalled that Obasi Eke and Chukwuemeka Mba, both from the PDP had filed a case with suit no. FHC/ABJ/ CS/1086/2014, dated December 22, 2014 pleading with the court to disqualify Ikpeazu on the grounds of his failure to pay personal income tax promptly as at when due for 2010 and 2011 in line with Section 24(f) of the 1999 Constitution, which states that “It shall be the duty of every citizen to … declare his income honestly to appropriate and lawful agencies and pay his tax promptly.”
The Governor in a swift response to the Federal Court order has told Abians ‘not to panic’, saying that he has faith in the judiciary and rule of law, added that he will appeal the ruling as he has instructed his lawyers to file an appeal immediately against the said judgment.
The Governor remains on seat despite the ruling as the Law permits him to seek redress in a higher court, which is the court of Appeal.
If you were Okezie Ikpeazu, receiving news of the court verdict half way into your tenure as Governor of Abia State, how will you react and what will be going through your mind at this point?
Please leave your comments below