The Court of Appeal in Abuja has reversed the sack of Abia State Governor, Victor Okezie Ikpeazu by a Federal High Court in Abuja on June 27.
Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja had in two judgments on June 27 this year, on suits by Sampson Ogah and Obasi Ekeagbala, voided Ikpeazu’s election on the ground that he made false claims in his tax documents submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
In six separate judgments Thursday, a five-man bench of the Court of Appeal, led by Justice Helen Moronkeji Ogunwumiju set aside the two judgments by Justice Abang on the grounds that his findings and conclusions were wrong.
The appellate court reversed all the orders he made, including Ikpeazu’s sack and the issuance of Certificate of Return to Ogah by INEC.
The court ruled that Abang did not have the jurisdiction to hear a motion for stay of execution of his earlier judgments delivered on June 27 even after the appeals against the judgments had been entered.
Justice Philomina Ekpe, who read the lead judgment, held that what Justice Abang ought to have done in line with time-honoured doctrine of “stari decisis” was to have transferred the motion to the Court of Appeal for determination. She also held that the Justice Abang wrongly interpreted the provisions of Order 4(10) and (11) of the Court of Appeal rules when he held that the said provisions were only applicable to an interlocutory ruling of the lower court and when a final judgment in a suit had been delivered.
In her contribution, Justice Ogunwumiju, held that the trial judge “deliberately stood the law on its head” by justifying his jurisdiction to hear the motion when appeal has been entered.