Following the confusion and uncertainties that has set in since the High Court removal of Governor Ikpeazu from office, a civil society group has weighed in on the subsequent effect the ruling has had on the state.

As the controversy on who the legitimate governor of Abia State continues, a coalition of civil society organisations has called on the Independent National Electoral Commission to retrieve the certificate of return it issued to one of the parties in the crisis, Dr. Uche Ogah, to douse the tension in the state.

According to Punch, the coalition, Civil Society Alliance for Civic Rights and Rule of Law, said the judgment of Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja, which ordered the electoral body to give the certificate of return to Ogah as the winner of the last governorship election in the state was erroneously delivered.

The spokesperson for the coalition, Mr. Onuha Oliver, told journalists as a press conference in Lagos on Thursday that the judgment had caused confusion in the state.

He said, “Issuance of certificate of return does not automatically make a candidate an occupier of a political office. It is only the swearing in that is rightly done that confirms the candidate as the occupier of an office.”

According to him, candidates are given certificates of return by INEC pending their swearing in when the tenure of the incumbent occupiers of such offices elapse.

Oliver added that the Abia State Board of Internal Revenue Service that issued Ikpeazu the tax certificate had not declared the certificates forged and that the trial court did not invite the issuing authorities to give evidence in the course of the trial.

He said the INEC form CF001, which the judge relied on, was not one of the grounds of qualification to contest the primary of the PDP.

Oliver, however, said that since Justice Abang nullified Ikpeazu’s election, many contractors had abandoned project sites in the states because of the confusion the judgment caused.

Oliver said, “The judgment has caused pains and confusion among the people. It has caused distraction; most contractors have abandoned project sites. Governance is paralysed as civil servants only go to offices to discuss the issue rather than focusing on their responsibilities. It has created crisis and suspicion among the ethnic groups in the state.”

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