Governor of Abia State, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, has described the issuance of certificate of return to his political rival, Samson Ogah, by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, as a litmus test for the nation’s democracy.
Governor Ikpeazu wondered how Ogah, who never contested an election to test his popularity, was ordered to be sworn-in as governor by a federal high court sitting in Abuja.
Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court had in his judgment on Monday, ordered INEC to issue a certificate of return to Ogah while ordering Ikpeazu to vacate office.
The development caused tension in the state on Thursday, following an alleged attempt by Ogah to get the state Chief Judge, Justice Theresa Uzokwe, to swear him in as the governor.
Speaking with newsmen on the situation in Umuahia, the state capital on Friday, Ikpeazu, who appeared unperturbed by the development, described it as a temporary setback where a man is trying to ambush democracy and get into government through the back door.
According to the governor, the tenets of democracy are very clear as one is required to campaign, run for an election, go through the rigors of tribunal and other courts required to validate his election.
“I went through a campaign, ran an election and had gone through the tribunal and a court turned around to issue a certificate of return to someone without allowing me to exhaust my legal rights, which I must exercise”, he declared.
Gov. Ikpeazu continued: “I am baffled with the desperation of one man to assume office, here is a man facing twelve criminal charges pending in many courts in Lagos, this means that he is trying to get immunity to enable him escape prosecution.
“The way things are in the state, it means that democracy is on trial, as people who know me are aware that I worked last at the state environmental agency (ASEPA) where I paid my taxes and people are now saying that I did not pay tax.
“It is strange to Abians as the Board of Internal Revenue (BIR) which I have no problem with has said it loud and clear that I paid my taxes, as I was duly assessed, so nobody can deny my fundamental rights and claim the mandate given to me by the people”.
“I am resolute to protect the mandate as I have an injunction from a competent court of jurisdiction stopping anyone including the state chief judge or any other person in that capacity in any part of the state to swear in any one as governor of the state”, he added.
Ikpeazu, who reaffirmed his position as Governor of Abia, appealed to the people to remain calm until the final verdict of the Supreme Court is given.
“This illegality will not stand. I will test the judgment in the Appeal Court up to the Supreme Court.
“Even if it was a death sentence, I don’t think that I will be executed without right of appeal.
“That right is fundamental, that right is undeniable and a denial of that right is a denial of my fundamental right”, he said.
On speculations in some quarters that there are people behind the stalemate, the governor said he does not believe it, “As am aware that the federal government is fighting corruption, so they cannot support corruption in any form”.
Ikpeazu also expressed happiness over the conduct of youths in the state and urged them to maintain their calmness.
He said that “Abia is calm contrary to current act of wanton destruction of oil pipelines in other Niger Delta states in the country.
“Abia perhaps is the only Niger Delta state in the country where youths have refused to join in vandalising Federal Government pipeline installations”.
Fayemi Presents Over N109 billion As Budget Estimate For 2021
Governor of Ekiti State, Kayode Fayemi has presented the proposed budget for the 2021 fiscal year in the State.
The Governor on Monday presented a budget estimate of over N109 billion for the 2021 fiscal year.
Governor Fayemi, while presenting the budget at the State House of Assembly complex yesterday in Ado-Ekiti described the 2021 budget as “Budget of Recovery and Economic Restoration.”
The budget has a recurrent expenditure of N57, 997,898,982.62k while the capital expenditure has N51, 668,386,739.99k.
Fayemi, said the budget proposal presented contains the policy thrust, programmes, and vision of his administration for 2021, saying efforts shall be made to source the needed resources to fund the budget.
National Broadcast: PDP Slams Buhari Over ‘Disappointing, Empty’ Speech – PDP
Recall that Buhari in his speech called for an end to the protest, adding that his government had already accepted and started implementing demands of the protesters.
He, however, failed to acknowledge the shooting of protesters by soldiers of the Nigerian Army at the Lekki Toll Gate on Tuesday night.
Reacting in a statement on Thursday night by its spokesperson, Kola Ologbodinyan, the PDP said Buhari’s address was depressing and failed empathy test.
The party appealed to Nigerians, particularly the youth, to remain calm and allow a return to normal life in the collective quest for peaceful co-existence in the overall interest of the nation.
PDP Asks Buhari To Stop Killing Of #EndSARS Protesters Across Nigeria
This was contained in a statement titled “EndSARS- Lekki Massacre,” signed by the PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, late on Tuesday.
Ologbodiyan said, “The Peoples Democratic Party, condemns in very strong terms, the killing of peaceful protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos as well as other parts of our country.
“It is shocking that security agents and, in some cases, thugs, were reportedly deployed to end the lives of promising Nigerians. This, to say the least, is saddening.
“Those responsible for the heinous murder of the innocent and harmless Nigerians must account for their nefarious acts.
“The PDP calls on President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately direct an end to these wanton killings across our nation.
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