The confusion, triggered by Dr Uchechukwu Sampson Ogah, who obtained a court order which sacked Governor Okezie Ikpeazu and affirmed him as governor-elect, expanded, at the weekend, as the third contender to the Abia governorship emerged.
A Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship aspirant in the state, Friday Nwosu, filed a suit against the judgment of the Federal High Court which declared Ogah as governor-elect.
Nwosu averred that the court, having disqualified Ikpeazu as the governorship candidate of the PDP in Abia in the 2015 polls, should have declared him as governor-elect and not Ogah.
The PDP governorship aspirant argued that the court ought not to have allowed Ogah to benefit from the primary election he condemned by refusing to sign the result while also petitioning the leadership of the party and asking it to conduct another primary election.
Meanwhile, Ogah, yesterday, described as an affront on the rule of law the refusal of the Abia State Chief Judge, Theresa Uzoukwu, to swear him in as “the only elected governor” of the state.
In his Suit No.FHC/ABJ/CS/71/2016, filed at the Federal High Court, Owerri against Ogah, the PDP, Ikpeazu, and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Nwosu is seeking five reliefs: “An order setting aside the declaration of the 1st respondent, Uche Ogah, as the elected governor of Abia State as declared by the trial court, an order that the 1st respondent is stopped from claiming any right or benefit from the 2nd respondent’s (PDP) gubernatorial primary election of 8/12/2014 in Abia State having waived his right to do so; an order striking out the 1st respondent’s (Uche Ogah)’s suit on the ground that it constitutes an abuse of court process; an order that the suit of 1st respondent i.e. (Suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/71/2016) is incompetent and the trial court lacks the jurisdiction to hear and determine the suit.”
He further stated: “The judgment is in error and cannot stand judicial scrutiny. Dr. Uche Ogah should not be allowed to benefit from an exercise he totally condemned by refusing to sign the result and petitioning the party to conduct another primary election. He should wait for the rerun of the PDP primary which he prayed for in his petition to the party. In the eyes of the law, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu and Sir Friday Nwosu were the only candidates who ran for the party primary. Since Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu has been disqualified, I remain the lawful candidate of the PDP and ought to be declared governor.”
Justice A.I. Allagoa of the Federal High Court, Owerri has fixed tomorrow and Tuesday to hear Nwosu’s suit against Ikpeazu and Ogah.
Sunday Vanguard gathered that Nwosu was the first aspirant to file a tax forgery suit against Ikpeazu and joined Ogah as one of the respondents in Suit FHC/ABJ/CS/184/2015, FHC/UM/CS/64/2015 and FHC/CS/OW/191/2015. The suit, filed at the Federal High Court 7, Abuja, and presided over by Justice Adeniyi Ademola, had suffered several delays before it was transferred to Umuahia after which Nwosu petitioned the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Ibrahim Auta, accusing Justice F.A. Olubanjo of bias. As a result of the petition, Auta transferred the matter to the Federal High Court, Owerri, then presided over by Justice S.M.Shuaibu. Shuaibu was soon transferred to Kaduna Division, but was granted an assignment order to hear and conclude the matter. The assignment order was later revoked by Auta when Ikpeazu’s counsel, C.C. Elele, protested and accused Shuaibu of bias.