Human right lawyer, Festus Keyamo has said the embattled Abia State Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu was occupying the governorship seat illegally, after his election was recently invalidated by an Abuja court.
Justice Okon Abang had on June 27 invalidated Ikpeazu’s election and had ordered the Independent Electoral Commission, INEC, to issue his challenger in the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, primary election, Dr Uche Ogah with certificate of return, which was done.
However, Ogah is yet to be sworn in despite being issued with certificate of return.
But Keyamo in a statement he personally signed on Wednesday, said all of Ikpeazu’s “actions, orders and anything done” in the capacity of governor since that judgement were “null, void and of no effect.”
The statement reads in part, “It would have been permissible for Dr. Okezie Victor Ikpeazu to continue in office as Governor of Abia State pending the outcome of the appeal despite the judgment of the Federal High Court (and the nullification of his Certificate of Return) if Dr. Sampson Uchechukwu Ogah had not been issued a Certificate of return instantly.
“But having been issued a Certificate of Return, it is constitutionally abnormal and legally paradoxical that a person with a validly issued Certificate of Return should not occupy that office immediately, and the person with an invalidated Certificate of Return continues to occupy that office.
“That is why the Interim Order restraining the Chief Judge of Abia State or any other Judicial Officer from swearing in Dr. Sampson Uchechukwu Ogah is a non-sequitor as the judgment of Abang J has already been complied with by the Independent National Electoral Commission.
“The scenario we have now is that of a person, without any document entitling him to that office, occupying the office of Governor of Abia State, whilst a person who has both a valid court judgment and a valid Certificate of Return is unable to assume office as Governor of the state.
“Let the world know today that Dr. Okezie Victor Ikpeazu is operating illegally as Governor of Abia Sttae and all his actions, orders and anything done in that capacity are null, void and of no effect.
“Dr. Sampson Uchechukwu Ogah should be sworn in immediately as Governor of Abia State pending the appeal lodged by Dr. Okezie Victor Ikpeazu. That is the only way to go to enthrone legality in Abia State. The heavens will not fall.”