Respected SAN and former President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Dr. Olisa Agbakoba has come out to say that Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu is no longer the governor of Abia state by law.
Speaking on the controversy, Agbakoba stated that since the court had removed him, he could no longer claim to be the governor of the state.
He said, “The court has removed him as governor but the problem is that there’s a transition period. But the court has removed him as governor and there’s a new governor-elect who is yet to be sworn in. and that is why I think there’s a major political vacuum. Clearly, the Ikpeazu is no longer the governor by Law.
“I don’t know the grounds which the other order from Abia State was obtained by one of the parties. But I do know that a judgment was given and a certificate of return was issued by INEC in Abuja. If they want to stay that order they have to go to the very court that passed the judgment.
“It is procedurally wrong to want to arrest that judgment using another court of coordinate jurisdiction. The order of the Federal High Court in Abuja should be obeyed.
“A Notice of Appeal is clearly not a Stay and INEC has broken no Law in issuing Certificate of Return to Ogah. But they should have relied on the prudential principle by cautioning themselves, giving the fact that they have received a Notice of Appeal, which in itself, does not constitute a stay of execution of the order of the court. However INEC has broken no law by issuing the certificate of return to Ogah,”
Another highly respected Legal luminary, Femi Falana also lent his voice to the matter, siding with Agbakoba and stating that INEC was right in complying with the order of court.
“Federal High Court ordered that Uche Ogah be issued with Certificate of Return and should be sworn in as governor of Abia State. INEC complied with the order. The order exparte issued by a judge in Abia State High Court is illegal and contemptuous. The Abia State High Court cannot sit on appeal over the order of the Federal High Court as it is a court of concurrent jurisdiction,” Falana stated.