The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, yesterday fixed July 7 to hear the motion for stay of execution in the judgement of the court that removed Abia State Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu from office.
The motion praying the court to stay the judgement was filed by Ikpeazu through his counsel, Wole Olanipekun (SAN). When the matter came up yesterday, Justice Abang who was scheduled to hear the motion in court fixed hearing for July 7.
The judge said all issues relating to the grant of stay in the case of election petition will on the said day be determined whether it is applicable to a pre-election matter. He urged parties in the matter to file and exchange necessary process before the adjourned date so as to facilitate early hearing of the motion.
In the motion, Ikpeazu is asking the court to put the judgment which removed him from office on hold pending the determination of his appeal filed against the judgment of the court at the Court of Appeal.
He told the court that the appeal had been entered at the appellate court and that necessary steps will be taken to facilitate quick determination of the appeal.
The court had last Monday ordered Governor Ikpeazu to vacate office with immediate effect. Justice Okon Abang, in his ruling then ordered the governor to hand over to Samson Ogah, owner of Masters Energy, who came second in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship primaries in the state.
The judge further ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to issue a Certificate of Return to Ogah, who contested the governorship ticket with Ikpeazu.
The court held that Ikpeazu was guilty of tax evasion and was therefore not qualified to have contested the 2015 governorship election in the state, which was held in April.
Two members of the PDP had accused Ikpeazu of failing to pay Personal Income Tax as and 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.”