Abia State governor Okezie Ikpeazu and his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have approached the Supreme Court, asking it to set aside the verdict of the Court of Appeal which voided his election and declared Alex Otti as the winner of the governorship election.
In a notice of appeal filed yesterday at the Supreme Court, Ikpeazu is asking the apex court to take a judicial notice of the fact that that neither Otti nor his party, the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) called credible and cogent evidence in support of their petition challenging his victory.
Meanwhile, Ikpeazu has written a letter to the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Mahmood Yakubu, asking him to respect the constitution and not to do any thing that will tamper with his office as the governor of Abia State.
In the letter written on his behalf by Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), Ikpeazu said he remained the governor until he had exhausted his right of appeal.
He said he intended to challenge the decision of the Court of Appeal which nullified his election at the Supreme Court.
The governor said he was dissatisfied with the judgement of the Court of Appeal and had instructed his lawyer to file an appeal against same to the Supreme Court.
Ikpeazu further reminded INEC that he had an unfettered constitutional right to appeal against the judgement of the Court of Appeal to the Supreme Court by virtue of section 233(2)(e)(iv) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
He added that he could have filed the appeal but for the refusal of the Court of Appeal to release to him the judgement which nullified his election.
The letter reads in part: “We continue to act as counsel to His Excellency, Dr. Okezie Victor Ikpeazu, the Governor of Abia State (our client), and we have his instruction to write you on the above subject as follows:
“Bearing in mind the fact that INEC itself is a party to the processing as, and would also be a party to the appeal which would definitely be filed on behalf of our client immediately on receipt of the judgement of the court of appeal, may we urge on INEC to resist any invitation by anybody or from any quarter to do anything that would work contrary to the clear and express provisions of both the constitution and electoral act in respect of the appeal particularly, the position of the governor of Abia State, which our client occupies.
“Also, under section 143(2) of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended), our client has the statutory right to remain in office pending the expiration of the period within which an appeal shall be filed, assuming without conceding that he does not even want to lodge an appeal against the decision of the court of appeal.
“Upon filing his notice of appeal, our client is also constitutionally entitled to remain in office until the Supreme Court decides and pronounces on his appeal.
“That what is causing the delay against the filing of the notice and grounds of appeal against judgement is the failure of the court to avail both our client and our humble selves of a copy of its judgement, even as at the time of writing this letter, and despite demands.”