Respite came for embattled Governor of Abia State, Okezie Ikpeazu as the Appeal Court sitting in Abuja ordered that he remains on seat pending the determination of the suit challenging his earlier removal from office.
A five-member panel of judges, led by Morenike Ogunwumiju, said the parties in the matter must “remain as they were” before the case got to the court.
She said the ruling did not mean a stay-of-execution order.
Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja had on June 27 nullified Ikpeazu’s election after finding him guilty of tax offences.
Abang ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to issue Samson Ogah who came second in the primary election of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) a certificate of return.
INEC, in deference to the court ruling, issued a certificate of return to Ogah. When the matter came up at the Appeal Court yesterday, counsel to Mr. Ogah argued that Ikpeazu was not legally the defacto occupant of the Abia State Government House, noting that there were conflicting judgments on the matter.
But Justice Ogunwumiju, said the court considered it important to avoid a misinterpretation of its ruling. She said the decision of the court for parties to “remain as they were” should not be misconstrued as meaning that the appellate court had issued a stay-of-execution order.