A Federal High Court in Abuja on Monday ordered the Governor of Abia State, Okezie Ikpeazu, to vacate office immediately for submitting false information to his party, the Peoples Democratic Party, for the party’s governorship primary in December 2014.
Justice Okon Abang in a judgment ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission to immediately issue a certificate of return to the plaintiff, Uche Ogah, who polled the second highest number of votes in the primary.
But Ikpeazu in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Enyinnaya Appolos said he will appeal the ruling as he has instructed his lawyers to file an appeal immediately against the said judgment.
The court held that Mr. Ikpeazu was guilty of tax evasion and was therefore unqualified to have contested the 2015 governorship election in the state.
The court also ordered the governor to vacate office immediately, and hand over to Mr. Ogah, owner of Masters Energy, who came second in the PDP governorship primaries in Abia.
Two members of the PDP had accused Mr. Ikpeazu of failing to pay personal income tax promptly as and when due for 2010 and 2011 in line with Section 24(f) of the 1999 Constitution, which states that “It shall be the duty of every citizen to … declare his income honestly to appropriate and lawful agencies and pay his tax promptly.”
In suit no. FHC/ABJ/ CS/1086/2014, dated December 22, 2014, and instituted at the Federal High Court, Abuja, two individuals, Obasi Eke and Chukwuemeka Mba, had asked the PDP and INEC to disqualify Mr. Ikpeazu from contesting the governorship election.