The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has issued Certificate of Return to Mr. Uche Ogah as the Governor-elect of Abia State.
The Certificate was issued barely three days after Governor Okezie Ikpeazu was sacked by a Federal High Court in Abuja, the News Agency of Nigeria has reported.
The duo, Ikpeazu and Ogah had contested the Peoples Democratic Party governorship primary in the state, with the former coming first at the primary and the later second.
However, Ogah went to court, saying that Ikpeazu deceived the party by allegedly presenting incorrect tax papers during screening.
The court on Monday upheld Ogah’s submission during the trial as it held that the embattled Ikpeazu was guilty of tax evasion.
The INEC said it decided to present the certificate of return to Ogah as directed by the court.
Meanwhile, Mr. Ikpeazu had said through his Chief Press Secretary, Enyinnaya Appolos, that he was “not going anywhere” and that he was remaining in office because he was challenging the judgment in a higher court.
He said: “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 dependency of a notice of appeal and motion for stay of the orders made by Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja.”
“Our laws are clear on this matter. 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.”
“I want to appeal to Abians to remain calm and law abiding in the face of this provocation, unless and until the appellant courts have conclusively resolve the appeal, the status remains, I am still the Governor of Abia State.”