The Abuja division of the Appeal Court has reserved judgment in the appeal by Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State, challenging his removal by a Federal High Court.
Justice Okon Abang on June 27 ordered Ikpeazu to vacate office for including false tax certificate information in his Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) form for the December 2014 governorship primary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Justice Abang had ordered INEC to issue fresh certificate of return to the plaintiff, Uchechukwu Ogah, who came second in the primary.
At the resumed sitting of the court, a five-member panel of justices led by Justice Morenikeji Ogunwumiju, reserved the appeal for judgment after Ikpeazu’s counsel, Wole Olanipekun (SAN) asked the appellate court to upturn the verdict of the high court, which sacked his client from office.
According to Olanipekun, as a public servant, Ikpeazu’s tax papers ought not to be queried because it is the business of the revenue authorities to authenticate the documents he submitted.
He further argued that the high court erred in law by deciding the allegation that the governor made false information in his INEC Form against the PDP Guidelines without the document being presented as an exhibit before the court.
In a counter-argument, counsel to Ogah, Alex Izinyon (SAN), prayed the court to dismiss the appeal, arguing that the matter for the court is to determine whether there is compliance with Section 31 (5) and (6) of Electoral Act as it relates to information supplied to INEC.