[dropcap]A[/dropcap]fter a critical look at the disruption of governance and threat to peace of ndi Abia through the certificate of return issued to Mr. Uche Ogah by INEC yesterday and attempt to swear him in as the governor of Abia state, this Forum sees the action as an attempt by some enemies of democracy to create unnecessary tension in Abia state and indeed south east and unleash mayhem on our people.
The judgement of the Federal High Court Abuja delivered by Justice Abang Okon sacking Governor Okezie Ikpeazu and ordering the swearing in of Dr. Charles Ogah can not be executed until all appeals on such judgement are exhausted, see section 143, subsection (1) and (2) of the electoral act 2010 as amended.
Section 143 subsection (1) states:
“If the election tribunal or the court, as the case may be, determines that a candidate returned as elected was not validly elected, then if notice of appeal against that decision is given within 21 days, from the date of the decision, the candidate returned as elected shall, not withstanding the contrary decision of the election tribunal or court, remain in office pending the determination of the appeal”.
Going further, section 143 subsection(2) also stated:
“If the election tribunal or the court, as the case may be, determines that a candidate returned as elected, was not validly elected, the candidate returned as elected shall, notwithstanding the contrary decision of the election tribunal or the court remain in office pending the expiration of the period of 21 days within which an appeal may be brought”.
This Forum is worried that despite the position of the law above, INEC which is a creation of the law and the Commission’s chairman who swore to protect the law of the land in clear mischievous move issued a certificate of return to Uche Ogah for onward swearing in as the governor of Abia state.
This act is tantamount to coup and shall be treated so.
Section 143 subsection 2, states that even if Ikpeazu fails to appeal the judgement of the trial court that actions to effect the judgement of Justice Okon Abang can only commence at the expiration of the period of 21 days upon which no notice of appeal may be brought.
How come INEC rushed to execute this judgement in clear breach of the law? Who was behind it? Who pressured INEC?
This is nothing but an orchestrated attempt to destabilize Abia state, make it ungovernable and create another north east in igboland, bring in military men to murder igbo youths who would wish to put up resistance against this charade.
APGA Interactive Forum is highly worried on the silence of the presidency on an attempt to illegally and or forcefully remove a sitting governor in Nigeria. Their silence portends danger to our democracy.
The National Assembly has to stand up to probe what went wrong, who did what and how and bring to justice all those involved in this aberration.
We urge the people of Abia state to remain calm in the face of this provocation. The law is clear and those wanting to subvert it for whatever selfish reason will never go unpunished.
Governor Okezie Ikpeazu remains the governor of Abia state pending the determination of his appeal, or at the expiration of period of 21 days from the date of the judgement of Justice Okon Abang if he fails to file an appeal.
APGA Interactive Forum Team is a group in the All Progressives Grand Alliance, a political party in Nigeria.