Federal High Court sitting in Owerri on Friday ruled that Dr Uche Ogah, who was recently presented with a Certificate of Return by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as the legitimate Governor of Abia State, is not “eligible to enjoy the outcome of the PDP primary because he rejected the result of the primary”.
The Court also dismissed a suit filed by Chief Friday Nwosu, seeking to remove the Abia State Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu for allegedly presenting a forged Tax Certificate to his party, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
Nwosu a guber aspirant on the PDP platform during Dec.8, 2014 primary approached the Court praying that he be declared Abia Governor on the grounds that Ikpeazu was not qualified to represent the PDP during 2015 election.
Delivering judgment on the suit, the presiding Judge, Lewis Allagoa, stated that the Plaintiff through his Counsel failed to justify his claim that the Tax Certificate submitted by Ikpeazu was forged.
Allagoa noted that aside looking at documents in litigation, proving a forged matter requires adequate clarification and additional proof by experts before a forgery claim can be established by law.
On the claim that Ikpeazu was not properly taxed in the year 2011, the Court noted that it was not the position of Ikpeazu, but that of the tax official to determine how he could be taxed.
The Court maintained that since the issuing Authority (Abia State Board of Internal Revenue) was not joined in the suit nor an expert engaged to ascertain the authenticity of the document it would be unlawful for the court to rule in favour of the Plaintiff.
On the third relief sought by the Plaintiff, seeking to dismiss the claim to the governorship position by Dr Uche Ogah, the Court ruled in favour of the plaintiff, noting “Ogah is not eligible to enjoy the outcome of the PDP primary because he rejected the result of the primary”.
Allagoa had earlier favoured Nwosu on two other grounds; that the originating summons filed was properly filed and that the Federal High Court has jurisdiction to hear the pre-election suit.
Reacting to the judgment which lasted more than two hours, Dr Livy Uzoukwu (SAN), J.T.U. Nnodum and Theo Nkire who represented the Independent National Electoral Commission, PDP and Ikpeazu respectively said that the judgment was a landmark one.
Nkire specifically commended the Justice for his industry in reviewing all issues raised by parties and at the end gave a sound judgment that would be hard to fault elsewhere.
Mr Francis Unyimadu, the plaintiff counsel also thanked the court for the judgment and added that his client will critically look at the judgment and known what next to do.
Meanwhile moments after the ruling, supporters of the Abia Governor, who attended the court in their uniforms were dancing and singing songs of thanksgiving for the victory which they said had adequately addressed the recent distractions to the Governor.
The Federal High Court, Owerri, has dismissed the tax forgery suit filed against Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu by a chieftain of the PDP in the state, Mr. Friday Nwosu. Nwosu who contested the December 8, 2014 PDP governorship primaries in the state had accused the governor of submitting a forged tax certificate and prayed the court to disqualify Ikpeazu and declare him governor.
Delivering judgment on the suit, Justice L.A. Allagoa, who resolved other issues in favour of Nwosu, however said that Ikpeazu was not the maker of the tax document, stressing that the Abia State Board of Internal Revenue, testified that the document emanated from them and was not forged. The Judge further ruled that Nwosu failed to prove the case of forgery against the governor.
Justice Allagoa added that Uche Ogah who is the 4th respondent in the suit lost his right to benefit from the process as he refused to sign the result and petitioned the party to conduct another exercise. Reacting to the judgment, one of the counsel to Nwosu, Ajayi Ilesanmi, said the Court failed to consider issues before it and promised to appeal the verdict.