The Federal High Court in Abuja on Friday referred the application for stay of execution of judgment by Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State to the Court of Appeal.
The judge, Justice Okon Abang, held that the decision of the court had hinged on the concession given to the application by Dr. Alex Izinyon (SAN), counsel to Dr. Uche Ogah. Abang had on June 27 sacked Ikpeazu as governor of the state over tax evasion.
He, therefore, made a consequential order compelling the Independent Electoral Commission to issue Ogah with a Certificate of Return, which was done.
Following the issuance of the Certificate of Return as affirmation of one duly elected, attempt was made to swear-in Ogah as governor of the state.
The attempt to reap the benefit of the judgment was halted by an order of the Abia State High Court, Osisioma Division.
Ikpeazu also filed a notice of appeal and stay of execution of judgment at the Federal High Court, Abuja and the Court of Appeal.
Abang had described the process as abuse of court, but, however, held that the position of Ogah’s counsel made it impossible for the court to rule otherwise.
He said all the legal cases cited by Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), counsel to Ikpeazu, were not compatible with the issue at hand.
He said: “The ruling of the court on July 4 did not form part of this substantive application.
“All the cases cited by Olanipekun are good laws but they are not applicable in this very matter.
“It is not also true that Order 4, Rule 10 of the Court of Appeal strips this court of jurisdiction as soon as appeal is entered against my decision.
“This rule can only be effective if it is an interlocutory injunction and cannot work with a final judgment like this one.
“I will leave all the motions arising from the June 27 judgment of the Court for the Court of Appeal to handle.”
On a sister case filed by Ikpeazu urging the court to compel INEC to withdraw the Certificate of Return from Ogah, Abang dismissed such motion, saying the motion lacked merit.
The judge said: “I want to affirm the judgment of the court that returned Ogah as the duly elected governor of Abia State.
“So it an absurdity for the court to overule an action that resulted from its decision.
“The issuance of the Certificate of Return to Ogah was validly done.
“It was done when the notice of appeal had not been served both the judgment creditor and INEC.”
The judge further held that “furtherance to that, the applicant is ordered to pay Ogah the sum of N40,000 as cost”.