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Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State has asked the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmood Yakubu, to respect the constitution of the country and to avoid doing anything that will affect his office as the governor of the State.
The governor, in a letter written on his behalf by Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), 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 judgment of the court of appeal and had instructed his lawyers to file an appeal against same to the Supreme Court.
He reminded the commission that he had the constitutional right to appeal against the judgment of the court of appeal to the Supreme Court, under and by virtue of Section 233(2)(e)(iv) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).
Ikpeazu said he could have filed the appeal but for the refusal of the Court of Appeal to release to him the judgment which nullified his election.
The letter read in part: “W?e 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 judgment of the court of appeal, may we urge 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 res 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 judgment is the failure of the court to avail both our client and our humble selves of a copy of its judgment, even as of the time of writing this letter, and despite demands.?”
Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has filed? an appeal at the Supreme Court challenging the decision of the Court of Appeal which declared Dr Alex Otti of APGA winner of the Abia State governorship election.
In a notice of appeal filed on Monday at the Supreme Court, PDP asked ?the apex court to set aside the judgment of the Court of Appeal which declared Otti the winner of the Abia State Governorship Election.