Despite the issuance of a Certificate of Return to Uche Ogah by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), as ordered by a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja and presided over by Justice Okon Abang, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, has urged Abians to relax and remain clam as he is still in office.
Justice Abang, had while delivering judgment in a suit challenging Ikpeazu’s eligibility to contest the primary election of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in 2015, where he was elected to flag the party’s flag at the governorship elections, upheld arguments that Ikpeazu’s tax declarations were forged.
Consequently, he ordered INEC to immediately withdraw the Certificate of Return it had issued to Ikpeazu and issue one to Ogah, who placed second at the primary election.
Though Ikpeazu had on Wednesday file an appeal and a motion for stay of execution of the judgment, INEC, Thursday, issued Ogah with a certificate of return in obedience to the High Court order.
Reacting to the development however, Gov. Ikpeazu urged Abia people not to panic as he was still in office.
In a statement made available to the media by Enyinnaya Appolos, his Chief Press Secretary, the governor said he is sure to overcome the situation.
“I have received with concern report of the purported issuance of Certificate of Return to Mr. Uche Ogah by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as governor of Abia State, despite the pendency of a notice of appeal and motion for stay of the orders made by Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja”, he said adding “our laws are clear on this matter”.
He maintained that “no one may be issued with a certificate of return let alone be sworn in as governor, when there is a subsisting appeal and application for stay”.
Ikpeazu also appealed “to Abians to remain calm and law abiding in the face of this provocation” stating that “unless and until the appellant courts have conclusively resolved the appeal, the status remains, I am still the Governor of Abia State”.