*I remain Abia Governor, Says Ikpeazu
The Independent National Electoral Commission has given effect to the judgement of a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, which voided the election of Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State over tax evasion.
INEC on Thursday issued a Certificate of Return to Samson Ogah, who was declared the validly elected Governor of Abia State by a Federal High Court.
The Commission’s Director of Voter Education, Barrister Oluwole Uzzi, said the decision followed the order of a Federal High Court, Abuja which voided Ikpeazu’s election.
The court had voided Ikpeazu’s election and directed the commission to immediately issue certificate of return to Ogah who came next to Ikpeazu in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) primary election for picking its governorship candidate in Abia State.
Ogah had instituted the case shortly after the primaries, before the 2015 poll.
The Certificate of Return was issued to Ogah on Thursday despite the appeal filed by the incumbent, Ikpeazu.
The development was confirmed by the INEC National Commissioner in charge of the South East, Lawrence Nwuruku.
The Federal High Court had declared Ogah as the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party for the 2015 governorship election.
Ogah, who came second behind Ikpeazu during the primaries of the PDP in December 2014, was declared the candidate of the party over alleged presentation of fake tax receipt by the incumbent.
Meanwhile, Dr. Ikpeazu has said he remains the Governor of Abia State despite the Certificate of Return issued to Dr. Samson Ogah by INEC.
Ikpeazu in a statement he personally signed on Thursday, urged the people of the State to remain calm.
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.”