An Appeal Court in Abuja has ordered that Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State to remain on seat pending the determination of 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.
A Federal High Court had on June 27 nullified Mr. Ikpeazu’s election after finding him guilty of tax offenses.
The court, presided by Okon Abang, ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to issue Samson Ogah a certificate of return.
On Tuesday, the counsel to Mr. Ogah argued that Mr. Ikpeazu was not legally the defacto occupant of the Abia state house. He said there were conflicting judgments on the matter.
But the judge, Mrs. Ogunwumiju, said the court considered it important to avoid a misinterpretation of its ruling.
She said the decision of the court was for parties to remain as they were should not be misconstrued as meaning that the appellate court had issued a stay-of-execution order.