The True Account Of The Court Of Appeal Proceedings Betwwen Dr Ikpeazu And Dr Ogah And Others On The 9th Of August 2016' By Monday Onyekachi Ubani
After the ritual announcement of appearances of counsels, the legal fireworks commenced in earnest. Chief Olanipekun SAN adopted and relied on his written briefs. He adumbrated his points, and of course it is on the already over argued point that the Appellant is a public servant whose taxes cannot be queried by the court except by the Tax authorities. He further stated that tax is not a requirement for the contest of elective position by the constitution and since the party guidelines does not graduate to constitutional requirement for contest of office in Nigeria, Justice Abang was wrong to have so held. He further argued that the Electoral Guidelines of PDP 2014 was not exhibited and as such the court was wrong to have relied on the Guidelines of 2010 which formed the basis of decision of the Supreme Court in Ukachukwu Vs PDP. In the Guidelines of 2014 "as and when due" was not used whereas it was used in the one of 2010 and to him that made a great difference. He mentioned the Tax Act which is the law governing taxation matters but failed to cite the section of the Act that provides that paying one's tax as and when due or paying tax (which is annual event) can be done at any time including paying three years tax in one day! None was cited and the authority of Ukachukwu he cited was not helpful as that particular case did decide on giving false information of tax documents under S31 of the Electoral Act of 2010 as amended.
Another Appeal that deserve mention is the appeal of PDP filed by Dr Onyechi Ikpeazu SAN in Ekeagbara's case, a sister case filed by members of PDP in Abia State. One of the grounds of appeal by PDP in that case was that the originating summons was not signed by the counsel in that case and so the entire proceedings and judgement were a nullity. When the appeal came up, the presiding judge asked Dr Iziyon SAN to address the court on the issue and clear the air whether the originating summons was signed or not. Dr Iziyon dutifully explained that the originating summons was signed by the counsel, Mr Max Ozoaka, he pointed out to the court where the signature is and even went further to cite two more places in the originating processes where the signature of the counsel was evident and urged the court to compare and contrast the signatures. Signature is a factual situation, not legal. It is either it is there or it is not there. Dr Ikpeazu SAN's argument was that the signature was not on the space for it but signed on the sidelines and besides the lawyer that signed on the sideline did not indicate which of them signed it since there were list of other lawyers mentioned on the originating process. Dr Iziyon urged the court to dismiss the argument of Dr Ikpeazu SAN as the signature on the process was evident. Assuming but not conceding that it was not signed, the learned Silk for Dr Ogah continued, the Originating Summons was amended and it was the amended version which was also signed that was used to conclude the case.
Sir Nwosu's case needs a bit of little attention. His counsel seemed drowned and unable to present a flawless case. In concluding his submission, he even urged the Honourable Court to dismiss his own appeal, laughs. The argument of Sir Nwosu through his counsel was that Dr Uche Ogah who came second in the primaries should not be the beneficiary of the misfortune of Dr Okezie Ikpeazu as he (1) Dr Uche Ogah did not accept the result of the primaries and that he (2) petitioned against the result alleging irregularities and that (3)he or his agent refused to sign the Result Sheet.(He was making the Result Sheet appear to be like a land agreement which if you fail to sign, renders the agreement negatory). His second ground of appeal was that Dr Uche Ogah's case against Dr Okezie Ikpeazu was an abuse of court procedure as he Sir Nwosu had earlier on sued Dr Ikpeazu and Dr Ogah in another court asking that Dr Okezie Ikpeazu be disqualified, whereas Dr Ogah "secretly" according to him went to another court seeking same remedy.
Dr Iziyon SAN, counsel to Dr Ogah wasted no time in demolishing both arguments. (1) the electoral guidelines and the constitution of PDP made provisions for aggrieved candidate/s to seek redress including but not limited to presentation of petition to Appeal Panel, in fact it is a condition precedent to institution of suit against the party. So he is not correct to assert what he was pushing forward and secondly that there was no abuse as reliefs, interests are quite different. Sir Nwosu's interest, reliefs are not similar to that of Dr Ogah and for a candidate who came distant fifth with five(5) votes at the primaries to demand that he should be declared governor over the first runner-up who came second(2)with 103 votes in a primary election in which all the delegates were held incommunicado four(4) days to the election by the government of Abia State seemed preposterous! His appeal according to Dr Iziyon was considered an extreme abuse that should be dismissed with ignominy
Finally it is important to point out that the Legal Team of Dr Uche Ogah filed a motion for the appeal of Dr Okezie Ikpeazu to be dismissed for gross abuse of the judicial process as he sought self help in Osisioma High Court which arrested the completion of the process of swearing in Dr Ogah as ordered by the Federal High Court, Abuja. Dr Okezie Ikpeazu's legal team has filed a counter affidavit to it. Both the main appeal and the motion will be delivered at a date yet to be given by the distinguished court.
Counsels and parties from both camps forgot the tension and their high expectations awhile and bantered and shook hands with one another immediately the court arose from proceedings that started by about 9.30am and adjourned by few minutes after five in the evening.
The main issue is that Abia State is the subject matter. Other Igbo States have moved on, Abia State, God's own State must move on. The time is now! It is God's time and believe me He makes all things beautiful in His own time.