Nigeria (Blank NEWS Online) –
Governor of Abia State, Okezie Ikpeazu has been ordered to vacate office with immediate effect. Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja gave the order on Monday.
Meanwhile, Abia State Governor Okezie Ikpeazu has enjoined the people of the state not to panic, but “remain calm” over the judgment of Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court Abuja that ordered his removal from office.
The order was sequel to the allegation that Ikpeazu tendered false information to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to contest the governorship primaries in December 2014. Justice Abang, had earlier on Monday delivered the case of alleged falsification of tax receipts brought before it in favour of the plaintiff, Mr. Uche Oga.
Also, the presiding Judge directed the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to immediately issue a Certificate of Return to the plaintiff, Uche Ogah and ordered the Chief Judge of the state to swear in Uche Ogah, his opponent in the December 2014 guber election, hence Okezie Ikpeazu, the Abia State governor, was not qualified to hold the office.
Justice Okon Abang, directed the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to cede the certificate of return to the opponent of Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia state as he was never qualified to run for the party primaries in the People’s Democratic party (PDP) as a guber candidate.
The judge also ordered the Chief Judge of the state to swear in, Uche Ogah, his opponent in the December 2014 gubernatorial election in state as the substantive governor of Abia state. The judge ruled that on the account of fake tax returns during the primaries, and that Dr. Ikpeazu was never qualified to run in the primaries.
Governor Ikpeazu has reacted to the judgement, saying his lawyers will file an appeal immediately against the said judgment.
The Governor noted as an appointee of the Abia State Government from 2011 to 2014, when he served as the General Manager, Abia State Passengers Integrated Manifest and Safety Scheme (ASPIMSS), and first Deputy General Manager, Abia State Environmental Protection Agency (ASEPA) Aba and Environs respectively, before his resignation in October 2014 to contest the Governorship election in the state, his taxes were deducted at source within that period.
According to him, when he had need of his tax clearance in 2014, he applied to the Abia State Board of Internal Revenue, and was duly issued with his tax receipts for the period in question.
Ikpeazu maintained that he remains the Governor of the state according to law and will await the final determination of the matter by the appellate courts.
Uche Ogah, a major contender during the PDP primaries had approached the court to declare Okezie unqualified to secure the party’s nomination for alleged tax evasion.
It could be recalled that Ogah, polled the second highest number of votes in the PDP primaries.
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