The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Monday deferred ruling on the application of the embattled Governor of Abia State, Ikezie Ikpeazu, seeking it to set aside its order directing the Independent Electoral Commission, INEC, to issue Uche Ogah with certificate of return.
Ogah who came second during the 2014 Peoples Democratic Party,PDP, governorship primaries in Abia State had approached the court seeking that Ikpeazu be sacked for issuing fake tax certificate to the party during the governorship primaries.
Following the application, Justice Okon Abang had on Monday last week ordered Ikpeazu to vacate his office as the governor while also directing INEC to issue Ogah with the Certificate of Return which was done last week Thursday.
But at today’s resumed hearing, counsel to the embattled governor, Wole Olanilekun, SAN, in an oral application prayed the court to set aside its earlier order.
“My lordship should set aside the certificate of return issued to Ogah by INEC since the motion at the court and the court of Appeal is still pending and because INEC took to self help.
Citing a previous similar case, Olanipekun said, “If the court does not grant our request then that will amount to what the Supreme Court described as denying us our right because they would have killed the appelant which is “democratic murder.”
He, however, urged the court to adjourned the matter because he needed time to respond to the affidavit filed by counsel to the respondent, Ogah, Dr Alex Izinyon which was served on him on July 1,2016
Olanipekun said, “We are making efforts to respond to the counter affidavit, the applicant has so sent his legal team to file a comprehensive notice of appeal in form and content than the one filed on the 28, June 2016.
“We are not used to asking for adjournment but we are asking for the deferment of the matter till the next available working day in view of the public holiday.”
Counsel to Ogah, Dr Alex Izinyon had filed a counter affidavit in relation to Ikpeazu’s appeal for stay of exection.
Contending with the prayer of Olanipekun, Izinyon urged the court to dismiss the application because Ikpeazu had gone ahead to get an order from an Abia State Court on June 30, stopping INEC from issuing his client, Ogah certificate of return when his appeal for stay of execution was still pending.
He informed the court that the embattled governor did not inform the court of the order which was two days after it filed the appeal for stay of execution before Justice Abang.
Izinyon argued that, “Ikpeazu went somewhere else to get this order.
“But we have brought this before your attention not them.
“Your lordship has the power to reinterate your order since the applicant had taken a step to steal a show which should not be allowed in the court.
“Where a party before the court has taken to self help, your lordship should refuse to indulge the exercise of illegality of seeking self help.”
Ruling on the matter, Justice Abang held that the “application lacks merit and the judgement was duely and properly signed.
“The court of law has its power to sign its enforcement order anytime judgement is delivered and the judgement was not made in favour of any party.
“By Order 23 and 24 of the Judgement of enforcement rule, I have the liberty to sign the judgement order because the Federal high court rules governs pre-judgement proceedings.”
Justice Abang adjourned the matter till July 7.