Abia State Governor, Okezie Ipkeazu, has gone before a High Court of Abia State, in Umuahia to stop the swearing in of Uche Ugah as Governor of the state.
The High Court thus gave an interim order stopping the Chief Judge of Abia State, the President of the Customary Court of Appeal in the state and any other judiciary officers in the state from swearing in Uche Oga as governor.
This followed the insurance to Ugah of Certificate of Return by Independent National Election Commission, Thursday.
INEC said it had not received copy of the appeal filed by the Governor Ipkeazu, following the nullification of his election by an Abuja Federal High Court, Tuesday.
The order, given by Justice Chibuzo Ahuchaogu Thursday, reads: “Upon this motion ex-parte pursuant to section 143 (1) & (2) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) and pending the determination of the motion on notice, after hearing O.O Nkume, counsel to the applicant.
“It is ordered that an order of injunction is hereby made restraining the 2nd defendant (INEC) from issuing a certificate of return to the 1st defendant (Ogah) while the claimant (Ikpeazu) remains in office in accordance with section 143 (1) & (2) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) and pending the determination of the motion on notice.
“It is further ordered that the 3rd defendant (chief judge of Abia State) or any other judge of the court or any judiciary officer are hereby restricted from swearing-in the 1st defendant (Ogah) while the claimant (Ikpeazu) remains in office in accordance with section 143 (1) & (2) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) and pending the determination of the motion on notice.
“It is also ordered that this order is hereby made to last for 10 days from today. The returnable date is fixed for the 8th day of July, 2016.
“Furthermore, the condition attached to this order is that the enrolled order must be served along with the motion on notice on respondents, else he order automatically lapses on 8th July, 2016.”
The court also restricted the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from issuing a certificate of return to Ogah.
However, Ipkeazu asked citizens of the state to remain calm.
He said in a statement: “I have received with concern, report of the purported issuance of Certificate of Return to Uche Ogah by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), as Governor of Abia State, despite the pendency of a notice of appeal and motion for stay of the execution of the orders made by Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja.
“Our laws are clear on this matter. No one may be issued with a certificate of return let alone be sworn in as governor, when there is a subsisting appeal and application for stay.
“I want to appeal to Abians to remain calm and law abiding in the face of this provocation. Unless and until the appellant courts have conclusively resolved the appeal, the status quo remains; I am still the Governor of Abia State”, he said.