Abia Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu has faulted the Federal High Court judgement which removed him from office, saying that the court lacked the power to sack him as Governor.
Governor Ikpeazu filed an appeal against Monday’s judgement of an Abuja Federal High Court and asked the Appeal Court to set aside the judgement of Justice Okon Abang.
In a notice of appeal filed by his lawyer, Chief Adegboyega Awomolo, the Governor argued that the trial judge erred in law when he ordered as a consequential order that the appellant vacates his office as the Governor of Abia state immediately.
This is because there was no jurisdiction in the Federal High Court to remove or vacate the occupier of the office of the governor of a state or order the removal of such officer after the unsuccessful challenge of the result of the election at the Tribunal and swearing in of the appellant as the governor.
According to him, the only power, authority and order exercisable by the Federal High Court was to disqualify the candidate from contesting the election based on section 31(6) of the Electoral Act 2010.
Governor Ikepazu also faulted the judgment on the decision that he did not pay his tax for the years 2011, 2012 and 2013, when due, when, according to him, he was a public officer whose tax deduction was under Pay As You Earn, PAYE, scheme where tax deductions were taken from the source of his monthly salary by the tax authorities who issued all the tax receipts and certificates.
He further argued that the Abia State Board of Internal Revenue Service that issued him with the tax certificates had not declared the certificates forged. Again, that the trial court did not invite the issuing authorities to give evidence in the course of the trial.
The Governor also faulted the court verdict on the grounds that the plaintiff, Dr. Samson Uchechukwu Ogah, was not a staff of the Abia Board of Internal Revenue and did not call any staff of the board to testify that the tax certificates were forged.
Ikpeazu therefore accused the trial judge, Justice Okon Abang, of violating his right to fair hearing by embarking on judicial investigation without giving him the opportunity to address the court on the issue.
The notice of appeal further argued that the learned trial judge erred in law when he held that the appellant presented false information to the Independent National Electoral Commission by his igneous meticulous study and investigation of documents filed in courts in the recess of his chambers and thereby violated the right of the appellant to fair hearing.
He faulted the Judge on his findings, on the basis that the judge had no duty to investigate the contents of documents dumped on the court in the recess of his chambers with a view to finding for the plaintiff.
The PDP has also rejected the judgement and filed a separate appeal urging the Appeal court to reverse the decision of the lower court.