The Governor of Abia state, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, has advised the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmood Yakubu, to respect the constitution by doing nothing capable of tampering with his office as the governor of the State.
In a letter written on his behalf by Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), Ikpeazu said he remained the governor until he had exhausted his right of appeal.
The governor, who expressed dissatisfaction with the judgment of the Court of Appeal which nullified his election as governor of the state, added that he would challenge the decision at the Supreme Court.
He further reminded the commission that he had an unimpaired and unfettered constitutional right to appeal against the judgment of the court of appeal to the Supreme Court, under and by virtue of section 233(2)(e)(iv) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).
The letter reads in part: “We continue to act as counsel to Dr. Okezie Victor Ikpeazu, the Governor of Abia State (our client), and we have his instruction to write you on the above subject as follows:
“Bearing in mind the fact that INEC itself is a party to the processing as, and would also be a party to the appeal which would definitely be filed on behalf of our client immediately on receipt of the judgment of the Court of Appeal, may we urge on INEC to resist any invitation by anybody or from any quarter to do anything that would work contrary to the clear and express provisions of both the constitution and electoral act in respect of the rest of the appeal particularly, the position of the governor of Abia State, which our client occupies.
“Also, under section 143(2) of the electoral act, 2010 (as amended), our client has the statutory right to remain in office pending the expiration of the period within which an appeal shall be filed, assuming without conceding that he does not even want to lodge an appeal against the decision of the court of appeal. Upon filing his notice of appeal, our client is also constitutionally entitled to remain in office until the Supreme Court decides and pronounces on his appeal.
“That what is causing the delay against the filing of the notice and grounds of appeal against judgment is the failure of the court to avail both our client and our humble selves of a copy of its judgment, even as at the time of writing this letter, and despite demands.”
You will recall that the Court of Appeal had on the 31st of December 2015, declared Mr. Alex Otti of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) the winner of the April 11th and April 25th election.