The Abuja division of the Appeal Court will tomorrow, 18th August 2016 rule on the appeal filed by Abia State Governor, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, against the ruling of Justice Okon Abang in the tax suit instituted by Uche Ogah.
A five-man panel of Justices of the apex court led by Justice Morenike Ogunwumiju, had adjourned the matter for judgment on the 9th of August after it heard six separate appeals that arose from the verdict of the Federal High Court in Abuja that removed Ikpeazu. Trial Justice Okon Abang had on June 27, ordered Ikpeazu to immediately vacate the governorship seat, even as he directed the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to issue fresh Certificate of Return to Mr. Sampson Ogah who came second in the gubernatorial primary election the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, conducted in Abia State on December 8, 2014.
Arguing his appeal, Ikpeazu, through his team of lawyers led by Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN, insisted that Justice Abang acted beyond his powers and misdirected himself in law. According to the him, “The trial judge erred in law when he ordered as a consequential order that the appellant vacates his office as the Governor of Abia state immediately when there was no jurisdiction in the Federal High Court to remove, vacate the occupier of the office of the governor of a state or order the removal of such officer after the unsuccessful challenge of the result of the election at the Tribunal and swearing in of the appellant as the governor.” He contended that the only power, authority and order exercisable by the trial court was to disqualify a candidate from contesting election based on section 31(6) of the Electoral Act 2010. Ikpeazu faulted Justice Abang for arriving at the conclusion that he did not pay his tax for the years 2011, 2012 and 2013, as at when due.
The judgement is expected to be delivered at 10am.