From: Godwin Tsa, Abuja
The Supreme Court, on Moday, admonished a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship aspirant in Abia State, Sir Friday Nwosu, to settle his differences with Governor Okezie Ikpeazu in the interest of the people of the state.
Besides, the apex court said it had already given its judgement on the governorship crisis in the state.
The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen, who gave the admonition said; “We have already taken a decision on the matter and we cannot be seemed to be speaking with both sides of our mouths because we are not politicians. There is only one Supreme Court. Please go and settle and allow the people to enjoy the dividends of democracy.”
Nwosu is challenging the nomination and emergence of Dr. Ikpeazu as the state governor on the grounds that he provided offensive tax papers to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
He is contesting that between the month of January and June 2014.
Governor Ikpeazu was not a public servant and could not have paid his taxes appropriately under the Pay As You Earn (PAYE) system.
Before the Supreme Court, his lawyer, Mr. Solomon Umoh (SAN) filed an application dated March 15, 2017 seeking for leave to appeal.
Umoh told the Supreme Court panel of Justices led by the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen that the Court of Appeal had stayed proceedings in the appeal to await the outcome of the Supreme Court Judgement in the appeal by Dr. Samson Ogah.
The lawyer said he intended to go back to the Court of Appeal but was helpless in view of the judgment of the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court had on May 12, 2017 affirmed the election of Governor Ikpeazu after dismissing the appeal for lacking in merit.
Umoh had told the court that he needed it’s intervention on the matter.
But responding to the request, the Chief Justice of Nigeria admonished the lawyer on the need to settle the dispute out of court.
Justice Onnoghen said: ” we have to accept that there must be dispute and there must be resolution because in all of these, the people that loose are the common people who are the electorates.
“There must be peace in the state so that the people who voted can get the dividends of democracy. In this country, our politicians spend three years out of the four year tenure fighting in court over elective positions. Not too much is given to governance.
“We need to have a re-think. We (Supreme Court) are not year to elect or appoint a lawmaker. We have so many pre-election appeals and it is the people that suffer at the end of the day.
“We have already taken a decision on the matter and we cannot be seemed to be speaking with both sides of our mouths because we are not politicians. There is only one Supreme Court. Please go and settle”.