Supreme Court affirms Abia Governor election

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Supreme Court affirms Abia Governor election
Supreme Court affirms Abia Governor election
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The Supreme Court led by the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Walter Onnoghen, on Friday affirmed  August 18 ruling of the Appeal Court which upheld the election of Abi State Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu.
Onnoghen, who led a five-member panel of justices in delivering the verdict,said June 27 decision of the Federal High Court to nullify the election of Abia State Ikpeazu, for alleged tax evasion was baseless.
Justice Okon Abang had in a ruling on an application filled by an Abia State businessman, and member of the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP), Samson Ogah, described the emergence of  Ikpeazu as governor of the state on the platform of the PDP as null and void.
Abang  said he based his decision on the fact that his court found the state governor guilty of tax evasion.
But in a unanimous ruling, however, the Appeal Court on August 18 reversed that decision, saying it lacked merit. merit.
Onnoghen, in his ruling,  posited that the allegation of tax evasion is baseless, since taxes were usually supposed to be deducted by the state and the certificates for payment of tax presented in court would have come from the state.
“I’m a government employee and it is also common knowledge that tax is deducted at source.They give you a tax clearance certificate, you are not the person who produced the tax certificate. If they say bring your tax clearance, I have my file and my pay slip, if you ask I will say this is my pay slip,” the judge said.
“If they don’t send it on time I will ask for my tax clearance because I may need it. When they send it to me and there is anything wrong with it, why should I be held responsible? The long and short of it was that this case was a no case,”Onnoghen added.
It would be recalled that Ogah, who emerged runner up to Ikpeazu in the PDP primaries ahead of the 2014 election, dashed to court to challenge the emergence of Ikpeazu as standard bearer of the party for about two years.
The latest verdict  by the apex court now puts to rest Ogah’s challenge and upheld Ikpeazu’s election.
Meanwhile, the governor has dedicated his victory over  Ogah at the Supreme Court to the people of Abia state, who he said stood by him all through the period of litigations.
In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Enyinnaya Appolos, Ikpeazu stated that the victory is a re-affirmation of the mandate given to him by the people, and now twice confirmed by Supreme Court.
He stressed that only God would take glory for the victory, and commended the judiciary for standing firm on side of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Ikpeazu called on all Abians to join hands with him to ensure accelerated growth and development of the state.
“The time for politics is long over, and I have forgiven all those that were bent on distracting me. Let all well meaning Abians, including my opponents, come and join us to grow and develop our state without distractions as we ultimately have stakes in the growth and development of our state and people,” the governor said.
“Today, there is the work of Abia to do and history will judge us by how much of that work we do, not by how much politics we play. My doors are open to all, my ears are open to hear and my eyes are strong enough to read suggestions on how we can best deliver greater dividends to those who really matter: the great people of Abia State,” he added

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