Emmanuel Ugwu, Umuahia
As uneasy calm pervaded Abia State on Monday following the Abuja high court judgment which disqualified him, the governor, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, has urged the people of the State not to panic, saying that he still has faith in the judiciary. He appealed to Abians to remain calm.
Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court Abuja had, in his judgment delivered in the case filed by oil magnate, Mr. Uche Oga, ruled that Ikpeazu had submitted falsified tax papers and so was not qualified ab initio to be the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
But in a swift reaction, Ikpeazu, in a statement issued by his chief press secretary, Mr. Enyinnaya Appolos, said that he would appeal the judgment and has in fact instructed his lawyers to file an appeal immediately.
The governor defended his tax papers, saying that he had always been paying his taxes as at when due right from 2011 to 2014 during which period he served in different capacities as a public servant.
He noted that between 2011 and 2014 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.
According to him, before his resignation in October 2014 to contest the governorship election in the state, his tax payments were up to date as they were being deducted at source. He further explained that 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 for the period in question.
Ikpeazu insisted that he remains the governor of Abia state according to law and will await the final determination of the matter by the appellate courts.
In its reaction the ruling PDP said that it was unfazed by the court judgment as it has for now changed nothing since the ruling would be challenged accordingly.
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