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Abia Forum, lawyers trade tackles over Ogah, Ikpeazu

By Boniface Okoro, Umuahia on 07/07/2016

Views: 2,003

Mixed reactions have continued to trail the governorship tussle in Abia State, with a group demanding immediate swearing in of Dr Uche Sampson Ogah while a team of lawyers have sworn to do every within its powers to ensure that incumbent governor, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, is not pushed out of office.

Abia was thrown into confusion on Monday, June 27, 2016, when a Federal High Court in Abuja, while ruling on a case of false tax information brought against Ikpeazu by Ogah, disqualified Ikpeazu as candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Abia for the 2015 governorship election and ordered him to vacate office.

In his place, Justice Okon Abang, presiding, ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to issue a Certificate of Return to Ogah who came second during the PDP governorship primaries in 2014 and that Ogah should be sworn in as governor.

The Okon Abang ruling and INEC’s issuance of Certificate of Return have elicited diverse reactions and generated frenzied political activities that have left Abia on the precipice of anarchy.

The Forum of Elders, Traditional Prime Ministers, Titled Chiefs, Community Leaders and Village Heads of all autonomous communities across Abia State rose from an emergency meeting on Wednesday in Umuahia to demand for the immediate swearing in of Ogah in obedience to the recent Abuja court ruling.

Apparently springing up to counter the position of Concerned Elders of Abia State which has thrown its weight behind Ikpeazu, describing the attempt to unseat him as orchestrated efforts to plunge Abia into violence, the pro-Ogah forum took a swipe at the Concerned Elders for allegedly misleading Ikpeazu by not giving him the right advice to quit office.

In declaring their unwavering support for Ogah, the forum praised Justice Okon Abang for his ruling and INEC for issuing a Certificate of Return to Ogah. They said the actions were in tandem with the change mantra of President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government and thus demanded that Ogah be sworn in as the governor without further delay.

In a communiqué issued shortly after their meeting, the forum vowed to continue to stand on the side of truth and patriotism which they believed the swearing-in of Dr. Ogah represented.

Those who attended the meeting included Chief Uche Akwukwaegbu (a.k.a Bawas), who is the Traditional Prime Minister of Ibeku Ancient Kingdom; Chief Slowe Nnochiri; Igwe Laz Onwuneme of Ohuhu clan; John l. Nnorom, a Finance Expert; and Chief Jerry Ohaegbulem.

Others were Dr. Mayor E.S.L. Nwachukwu, Hon. Prosper Mba Okorie, Hon. Michael .C. Ekpe; Ezinne Ada Obasi and Chief Ugochukwu Alozie, among others.

The forum frowned at what it described as negative reaction of some reactionary forces which see the court and INEC decisions as hasty, alleging that such people were used to disobeying court orders.

The forum advised the general public to disregard the information as contained in the communiqué issued by the Abia Concerned Elders as their sponsors were those who allegedly have contributed in no small measure to the collapse and stunted growth of Abia State. Part of the forum's communiqué read:

“That as the true representatives of the people, we condemned in its entirety, the purported meeting held in Abuja by some people from Abia State in the name of Concerned Elders of Abia State and that their resolutions do not reflect in any way the reality on the ground.

“That the true position of things in Abia is that all Abians, male and female, young and old, irrespective of clan, religion and political groups, are yearning for Dr. Uchechukwu Sampson Ogah, hence the hilarious and wild celebration that was witnessed in all streets and all villages of Abia.

“That all interest groups, professional bodies, youths and women groups and community leaders passionately desire a turnaround in Abia State and everyone is happy that a court of law has finally restored the mandate of the people’s choice, Dr. Uchechukwu Sampson Ogah.

“That consequently, we urge the Adolphus Wabara-led acclaimed Elders forum not to pretend that they do not know the right thing to do, which is to advise the former governor of Abia State to honourably quit and respect the rule of law.”

Meanwhile, a group of concerned lawyers has sworn to do all it could to ensure that Ikpeazu retains his office.

Leader of the Concerned Lawyers delegation which paid a solidarity visit to Ikpeazu at Government House, Umuahia, Barr Ogbonnaya Nwannunu, said their visit was borne out of their concern over what he called the “legal somersault” in the state.

According to him, they have x-rayed the episode and found it to be a charade which will fizzle out and wondered how someone could think of a coup d’etat in a democracy.

He urged the Governor not to despair and promised that the team will work with him to ensure that he triumphs.

Receiving his guests, Ikpeazu told them that any plot to make it impossible for him to appeal the judgment of Justice Okon Abang of the federal High Court against him amounted to an infringement on his fundamental human right and against the constitution of the land.

The governor wondered how a Judge will order the swearing-in of Ogah who did not even contest election, less than 24 hours after the judgment was delivered without giving him a chance of appeal.

He described Ogah’s quest to unconstitutionally wrestle power from him as a serious affront on the institution of governor as well as a siege on his position as Governor of Abia state, describing it as a coup d’etat orchestrated by some individuals.

The Governor regretted that Abians have been forced to bear the trauma occasioned by the political development and wondered why after toiling to win election, a person who was sitting comfortably in his room will wake up and want to force his way to the seat of power.

He maintained that the plot negates the principal of equity, justice and fair play and thanked the concerned Lawyers for educating the public to remain calm as well as for their hard work and industry.

•Photo shows Ikpeazu and Ogah.

Source News Express

Posted 07/07/2016 9:18:16 PM





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