Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State has won the first appeal delivered by the Court of Appeal in Abuja with respect to the judgments of the Federal High Court in Abuja June 27 removing him from office.
Ikpeazu’s appeal was with respect to the ruling delivered by Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court in Abuja on July 8 in which the judge insisted that he had jurisdiction to hear a motion for stay of execution of his earlier judgments delivered on June 27 even after the appeals against the judgments had been entered.
The Justice Helen Ogunwumiju-led five-man bench unanimously agreed in their judgment that Justice Abang erroneously assumed jurisdiction to hear the motion and adjourned it till a later date.
Justice Philomina Ekpe, who read the lead judgment, held that what Justice Abang ought to have done in line with time-honoured doctrine of “stari decisis” was to have transferred the motion to the Court of Appeal for determination.
She also held that the Justice Abang wrongly interpreted the provisions of Order 4(10) and (11) of the Court of Appeal rules when he held that the said provisions were only applicable to an interlocutory ruling of the lower court and when a final judgment in a suit had been delivered.
She also held that Justice Abang lacked jurisdictions to interpret the provisions of the Court of Appeal being the rules of a superior court.
In her contribution, Justice Ogunwumiju, held that the trial judge “deliberately stood the law on its head” by justifying his jurisdiction to hear the motion when appeal has been entered.