Abia State governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, has been pronounced disqualified to run for the office of governor by a federal high court in Abuja, News Express reports.
The presiding judge, Justice Okon Abang ruling on Monday, June 27, 2016 on a suit brought against Dr. Ikpeazu by an arch-rival, Dr. Uche Ogar, declared him unqualified to contest the Abia governorship election of last year for alleged tax evasion.
According to information available to The Trent, Ogar accused Ikpeazu of submitting false information to his party on his nomination form.
Justice Okon Abang in his judgement ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to immediately issue a certificate of return to the plaintiff, Uche Ogah, who polled the second highest number of votes in the primary.
“The judgement is a travesty of justice. We are going to appeal it,” an Abia State government official told News Express. “The governor was working in the public sector during the period in question, so if there was any problem with his taxes, it was not his fault.”
I Remain Governor, Ikpeazu Reacts
The governor of Abia State, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu has called on Abians not to panic, but remain calm over the judgment of Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court Abuja delivered today in favor of Mr. Uche Oga against him, in the case of alleged falsification of tax receipts.
Governor Ikpeazu, who said that he has faith in the judiciary and rule of law, added that he will appeal the ruling as he has instructed his lawyers to file an appeal immediately against the said judgment.
This information is disclosed in a statement released on Monday, June 27, 2016 and signed by the chief press secretary of the governor, Enyinnaya Appolos. The statement came following enquiries to the governor following the court judgement delivered earlier on Monday.
The governor noted as an appointee of the Abia State government from 2011 to 2014, when he served as the general manager, Abia State Passengers Integrated Manifest and Safety Scheme (ASPIMSS), and first deputy general manager, Abia State Environmental Protection Agency (ASEPA) Aba and Environs respectively, before his resignation in October 2014 to contest the governorship election in the state.
During the period under contest, Ikpeazu’s taxes were deducted at source, and when he had need of his tax clearance in 2014, he applied to the Abia State Board of Internal Revenue, and was duly issued with his tax receipts covering the period.
The governor, elected under the platform of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, insists that he remains the governor of the state according to law and will await the final determination of the matter by the appellate courts.