Abia Governorship: Federal High Court adjourns proceeding on stay of execution suit

A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has adjourned it’s proceedings on the stay of execution motion filed by the ‘ousted’ Abia State Governor, Okezie Ikeazu pending the determination of the appeal filed at the Appeal Court.

Governor Ikpeazu had filed an application for a stay of action on the judgement that removed him as the state governor.

Ikpeazu, through his lead counsel, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), had filed an application praying the court not to effect the judgment.

Justice Okon Abang said in its ruling that based on the submission of Alex Iziyon, counsel to Uche Ogah, his court lacked jurisdiction to take the application for stay of execution, saying that he would not enter the fray of legal dispute by making a pronouncement.

“Based on Iziyon’s application I hereby adjourned the proceedings pending the appeal at the appeal court,” Abang held.

The Judge also refused to make an order enforcing his previous judgment removing Okezie Ikpeazu as Abia state governor.

Delivering his ruling on Friday, Abang held that he had jurisdiction to hear any application against his final judgments.

He said that order 4 of the appeal court rules did not apply to the case before him.

Abang said that Ikpeazu ran to the appeal court for “stay of execution” of an order removing him as governor instead of coming to him to decide on the matter.

He said all these in response to the argument of Wole Olanipekun, counsel to Ikpeazu, challenging his jurisdiction to hear any application on the matter.

Making his argument, Olanipekun, said that he had filed a suit at the appeal court, challenging a previous judgment of the court removing his client as governor.

He had argued that based on order 4 of the appeal court rules, Abang lacked the jurisdiction to hear any application on the case because an appeal had been entered at the appeal court.

He, therefore, asked Abang to hands off the case because he had become “functus officio.”

“The record of appeal has been transmitted to the court of appeal on July 4. The appeal has been duly entered at the court of appeal. The court appeal is fully seized of this matter,” he said.

But Alex Iziyon, counsel to Ogah, argued that the application constituted an abuse of court process.

“The application constitutes an abuse of court process and contempt of court. At this stage of the proceedings, can this honourable court shut its eye to an issue that borders on abuse?” he said.

Iziyon asked the judge to make a pronouncement setting aside the order of an Abia high court, restraining the chief judge from swearing in Ogah as the state governor.

“I submit that this issue is still live and your lordship has the exclusive power to deal with it as it borders on integrity and sanctity… and make findings because that is not the issue for the court of appeal,” he said.

“We ask that a pronouncement be made on the order by the Abia high court which is a court of coordinate jurisdiction. We want this court to set aside this order so that we can face the matter at the appeal court.”

On June 27, the judge ruled that Ikpeazu was not qualified to hold office as Abia governor because he had filed fake tax certificate before his election in 2015.

Abang also ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to issue a certificate of return to Ogah, who was first runner in the PDP Abia governorship primary election, as governor of the state

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