ABIA STATE: THE CASE OF DR UCHE OGAH & DR OKEZIE IKPEAZU
I was present at the Federal High Court Abuja yesterday the 27th of June, 2016 where the judgement of Justice Okon Abang of Federal High Court was delivered. The case made out by Dr UCHE Sampson OGAH against Dr OKEZIE IKPEAZU was the issue of giving false information (not forgery) about his tax receipts and certificates to INEC during the primary election of PDP in December 2014.
The constitution and the PDP Electoral Guidelines required a candidate to show evidence of tax payment as and when due for three years running. In supplying these documents Dr OKEZIE IKPEAZU lied on oath in claiming to have paid tax on a Saturday which we all know is a non working day for civil servants all over the country including ABIA State.
In another instance he gave an outrageous annual taxable income different from what was stated
in his letter of employment.
In another instance he claimed to have paid tax when he was not yet employed by the State. Yet in another he purportedly gave a receipt for 2011 that bore a receipt number that showed clearly that that of 2013 was paid earlier than that of 2011. The mother of all lies was when he purportedly gave a tax certificate that showed that all the taxes were paid in one day! In submitting the form to INEC personally Dr OKEZIE IKPEAZU claimed that every
information he gave were correct and true. Now on the face of these findings, those information were found by the court not correct and true.
If it is so found that a candidate did not fulfill the requirement of paying his tax as and when due, then he is not qualified to have been presented as a candidate of a political party. Dr UCHE OGAH did not sue for forgery which is a criminal case difficult to prove in civil suit especially on election matters, he did not sue on the gross irregularities that occurred during the primary election witnessed even by some of the security agents who are my friends. I was at event of the primary election and I saw it all. Having found that Dr OKEZIE IKPEAZU was not qualified to have participated in the primary of that election, the court held that he was not qualified to have been presented to INEC for the general election of April, 2015. With that finding which took into account that election has held despite notice by PDP of the pre election case served on them to correct the abnormally, the court refused to be foist with state of helplessness. The court made bold consequential orders ordering Dr OKEZIE IKPEAZU to vacate the governorship seat as he was not qualified to have participated in the PDP primaries let alone the general election in which he
The proper candidate Dr UCHE OGAH who should have been presented as the rightful candidate was ordered to be issued with a Certificate of Return and be sworn in immediately by the Chief Judge of the State as the governor of ABIA State. It is important to point out that Dr OKEZIE Ikpeazu’s defense on the case was that the mistake was made by the Board of Internal Revenue(admission in law) and not him and I have heard his press release where he is saying that as a public servant his taxes were supposed to be deducted at source and tax papers given to him. Let him check whether what he submitted to INEC for the election is evidence of deductions at source that showed accurately his earnings and taxes genuinely paid by him. He has threatened to go on appeal (his right actually) and we will watch and see how all this false information given to INEC will be treated by the appellate courts.
This case is very novel and will enrich our jurisprudence greatly. It promises to be interesting times for the legal profession, the State and Nigeria generally.
ABIA state deserves the best and Uchechukwu ga eme!(Gods' will
will be done).
Credit: Barr. Onyekachi Ubani.