An Igbo pressure group, Ndigbo Buotu Union, has given a seven-day ultimatum to Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State to vacate his seat over false tax return controversy.
The group warned that should he fail to vacate the seat at the expiration of the ultimatum, its members would occupy the Abia State Government House.
Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court in Abuja had sacked Ikpeazu for filing false tax receipts, which he used to contest the December 2014 governorship primary election of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
The court had ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to withdraw the governor’s certificate of return and issue same to his rival, Mr. Uche Samson Ogah, who came second in the PDP primaries.
But Ikpeazu has continued to seek legal reprieve in the various courts to overturn the ruling.
In a statement issued Friday in Abuja, the National president of Ndigbo Buotu, Igwekala Ugomaduefule, said Governor Ikpeazu lacked the moral right to continue in office because of the severity of the allegations against him.
Ugomaduefule declared that the entire Igbo nation is scandalized that the governor is using all sorts of subterfuge to hang on to office.
The statement said, “Since the issue of tax evasion by the outgoing governor of Abia State, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, became public knowledge, the people of Abia State, the Igbo nation and indeed all Nigerians have been keenly following the development in court because of the severity of the alleged offence.
“At every point and turn, the governor engaged all manners of delay tactics and subterfuge to stop the case, including going to the Supreme Court to ensure the case does not see the light of the day.
“However, all the rigmarole on the tax evasion case instituted against outgoing Governor Ikpeazu came to a halt on Monday, June 27, 2016 following the ruling by the Federal High Court, Abuja, presided over by Justice Okon Abang, which found him culpable of tax evasion and consequently kicked him out of office.
“The court also ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to issue a certificate of return to Dr. Uche Samson Ogah, who came second in the PDP primary.
“We members of Ndigbo Buofuobi , like other Nigerians, had expected the governor to take the path of honour, apologize for his misdeed and immediately quit office for Dr. Uche Samson Ogah as ordered by the High Court.
“Rather than do the honourable thing, Governor Ikpeazu has been brazenly talking tough and refusing to quit office.
“We find this very irritating, morally questionable and politically incorrect for a man that should cover his face in shame is all over the media boasting that he will not respect the court ruling.
“We want to use this opportunity to call on the national leadership of the PDP to call Governor Ikpeazu to order and prevail on him to respect the ruling of the court instead of exposing the party to more public ridicule after the damage he did to the image of the party by tax evasion.
“PDP leaders should also learn from this sad incident and ensure that in future all aspirants for every position are scrupulously screened before the primaries to ensure this ugly development does not repeat itself in future”.