Resumes work after surviving removal scare
Davidson Iriekpen in Lagos and Emmanuel Ugwu in Umuahia
Abia State Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, has called on the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Mahmud Mohammed and the National Judicial Council (NJC) to investigate what he described as “irreparable injustice” meted on him by Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court in Abuja.
In a letter to the CJN and NJC, Ikpeazu said Justice Abang’s acts of abuse of office and denial of justice had thrown the state into turmoil, adding that there is grave political uncertainty and total breakdown of law and order in the state.
He therefore called on the NJC to investigate and take necessary disciplinary action against the judge.
The petition titled: ‘Abuse of Judicial Power and Injustice meted to Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu by Justice Okon Abang of the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court in Suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/71/2016,’ signed by one of his lawyers, Emeka Eze, read: “I am one of the legal counsel engaged Ikpeazu in the prosecution of the above matter and have his instructions to bring to your attention and that of the esteemed members of the NJC the irreparable injustice meted to him by Justice Abang.
“On June 27, 2016, Justice Abang delivered an oral judgment in the said suit with a pronouncement in court that copies of the judgment will be made available to parties within seven days.
“A few hours after delivery of the judgment, we sent formal requests for the written copies of the judgments, filed a notice of appeal and an application for stay of execution of the orders of the court. The filed copies of the notice of appeal and applications for stay of execution were duly served on all parties, including the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on the same day.
“On receipt of our notice of appeal and application to stay execution of the orders of the court, Justice Abang surreptitiously and without our knowledge enrolled a seven paged order signed by him and delivered same to the plaintiff to enable him enforce the orders contained in his enrolled judgment thereby truncating the petitioner’s rights to appeal against the judgment.”
Meanwhile, Ikpeazu Monday commenced work after 12 days lull in government activities, saying that he had survived the “coup attempt” against him.
The governor stepped out to inspect the progress of work on Revenue House at Ogurube Layout Umuahia after receiving members of the new state executives of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who came on solidarity visit.
The two-storey building complex which would house Board of Internal Revenue and Due Process Office, was described by Ikpeazu as a one stop shop for doing business with Abia government.
He expressed satisfaction at the progress of work, saying that the building would be inaugurated in October.
While receiving the PDP state and local government executives led by the new sate chairman, Chief Johnson Onuigbo, the embattled governor said that “even in this trying moment” he was never in doubt that the PDP family was intact and solidly behind him.
He stated that every authentic PDP member was quite aware that those battling to unseat him were aiming to throw Abia into chaos, noting that “what is under attack is not me as a person but the essence of what holds us together as a people.
“The consequences of their plan would have thrown this state into anarchy,” he said, adding that PDP as a party would overcome the challenges and come out stronger in 2019.
According to him, his traducers “are afraid of 2019 and that’s why they want to come to government house through the window.”
Earlier the state party chairman, Onuigbo told the governor that the PDP executive members were at government house to formally meet the governor since after they emerged in the party congress of May 10, 2016.
“We are with you; we will work with you; we will support you. We will make sure that the this party is returned to the people so that in 2019 we will return PDP 24 over 24 in the Abia House of Assembly (where opposition APGA snatched nine seats),” Ounigbo said.
The party chairman said the arrangement had been finalised to present the new executives to the governor only for “coup plotters” to strike, adding that despite the crisis caused by the failed plot to unseat the governor the entire PDP executives have remained intact.
“You are not alone. You can see that none of your soldiers escaped to the other side,” Onuigbo told governor Ikpeazu. He further assured him that he has a “formidable team” in the PDP executives to stand by him in the battle to save his mandate.
Onuigbo said that those angling to unseat Ikpeazu should know that the mandate was given to him by the people of Abia hence “we are going to defend it with the last drop of our blood.”