The Supreme Court has ordered the Federal High Court in Abuja to begin a fresh hearing of a suit challenging the qualification of Abia State Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, to contest in the April 11, 2015 election.
The suit on which the Supreme Court ruled on Friday was instituted before a Federal High Court in Abuja by two governorship aspirants on the governor’s party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Obasi Ekagbara and Chukwuemeka Mba.
They had dragged him to Court via suit FHC/ABJ/ CS/1086/2014 over his eligibility to contest in the primary election conducted for governorship aspirants of the party in the state during the last election in 2015.
Although Ikpeazu won the primary, his opponents alleged that he did not qualify to contest as he did not pay his taxes of years 2011, 2012 and 2013 as at when due.
The Supreme Court’s five-man panel headed by Justice Muntaka-Coomasie, in its judgment, set aside the judgment of the Court of Appeal which had ruled that the Federal High Court lacked jurisdiction to entertain the case, ordering the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Ibrahim Auta, to re-assign the case to another judge different from the one who heard it before the case proceeded on appeal.
“I order the remittance of this suit to the learned Chief Judge of the Federal High Court for immediate assignment to another judge for expeditious determination,” the Supreme Court ruled.