Court responsible for Abia gov crisis, says Fasehun

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The National Chairman of the Unity Party of Nigeria, Dr. Frederick Fasehun, has condemned the judgment given by Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court which faulted Governor Okezie  Ikpeazu’s election.

Fasehun, who addressed journalists on the Abia governorship crisis in Lagos on Wednesday, also condemned the role of the Independent National Electoral Commission in the governorship tussle.

He said it was not proper for two candidates in the state to have two certificates of return which gave them the power to be the governor of the state.

The founder of the Oodua People’s Congress said the role of the judiciary was to dispense justice and fairness to both parties but said it was unfortunate that the court did not give a fair hearing.

Fasehun said, “The judge should have followed good precedents from the recent governorship cases that went not just to the Court of Appeal, but all the way to the Supreme Court. These cases included those of the sitting governors of Rivers State, Ekiti State, Nasarawa State and Sokoto State. No Judge of the lower court should pretend he is the Alpha and Omega over the fate of anyone in the country. Such a stance is injurious to societal sanity.

“And then, INEC also allowed itself to be stampeded into issuing a certificate of return. The Abia State INEC commissioner unilaterally issued a certificate to Dr. Uchechukwu Ogah without first withdrawing the one earlier issued to the incumbent governor, Ikpeazu.

“Under the Electoral Act, INEC has the latitude of one full week to issue a certificate of return to a winner. In addition, the Electoral Act provides that a person whose election gets nullified has 21 days, that is 504 hours, to file an appeal, and he will stay in office for as long as it takes to determine his appeal. So, why the inordinate rush to do so within 24 hours,  especially when Governor Ikpeazu had already filed an appeal as well as a motion for stay of execution, and INEC was duly served? Now Abia has this strange situation where the state has two governors-designate.  This is madness.”

Fasehun, therefore, called on civil society groups, workers’ unions and democratic activists to ensure that democracy in Abia State was not truncated.

The UPN chairman also urged the judiciary to live up to its responsibility and check the excess of the legislature and the executive.

“What is clear is that Abia people deserve peace. We sue for peace in Abia State. We urge all men and women of goodwill in the state to hold their peace and let justice prevail. No one must allow the inordinate ambition of any politician to disrupt the  peace in the state,” he added.

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